Stanley Potter, a family lawyer in Toronto, answers:
A do it yourself divorce kit would be as good as a do it yourself tooth extraction kit.
There are many complex issues that have to be resolved:
- What you want do with the children? Where will the children live? How much time will the other parent have to visit with the children? Who will make important decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the children? What is the income of the non-custodial parent so that child support can be calculated (pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines in Canada)? If custody or access is an issue will an independent assessment have to be completed by a professional as to the parenting capabilities of each parent?
- The businesses (both the husband’s business and the wife’s dental practice) would have to be evaluated by a proper business valuator as the value of the businesses would be family assets. A letter from the companies’ accountants providing a value is not sufficient.
- The values of the properties would have to be ascertained by a professional appraiser unless the parties can agree upon a fair market value.
- Once the family assets have been valued and accounted for, a sworn Financial Statement would have to be prepared and an Equalization would have to be calculated in order to determine the parties’ Net Family Property. A determination of the equalization owed by one party to the other would then be calculated.
- If either party has a pension it will also have to be valued and divided at source or other agreed-upon division as it is also a family asset.
- There could also be an issue of calculating spousal support if one of the parties’ incomes are higher than the other party’s and it is found that there is an obligation to support the other party.
- Finally, both parties must obtain
independent legal advice before an agreement is signed including full financial disclosure in order for the agreement to be binding.