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Steps in a Negotiated Divorce
In a negotiated divorce in Canada, you and your spouse work together to deal with the issues of child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and property division that arise due to your separation. If your negotiation is successful, it results in a separation agreement that is legally binding on you and your spouse.
If you and your spouse are unable to reach a negotiated agreement, then you will need to go to court to have a judge settle your differences. A negotiated divorce speeds up the divorce process, and is significantly less costly and less stressful than going through the courts. As well, the resulting separation agreement can be personally tailored to your situation, unlike a court order.
1. Learn Your Canadian Family Law Rights and Obligations
Before you get started, it is important that you consult with a Canadian family law lawyer who can advise you of your rights and obligations. .
2. Financial Statement and Financial Documentation
To resolve the financial issues arising out of your divorce, you and your spouse must prepare a financial statement. In this statement, you disclose your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. As well, you gather up financial documentation to support the figures in your financial statement. You may also need to hire valuators to help you determine what some of these figures are - for instance, hire someone to value your home. It is important that your financial statements and financial documentation be as complete and accurate as possible, as these documents form the basis of the next step - negotiating a resolution of the issues between you and your spouse.
3. Settlement Negotiation
Once you and your spouse have exchanged all financial information, you will be in a position to start negotiations. There are different ways you can negotiate a separation agreement. You can do it yourself, you can hire a divorce lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, or you can attend mediation with your spouse. You can do negotiate in one long meeting, or in several shorter meetings. Your goal is to reach an agreement with your spouse on as many issues as possible.
4. Draft a Separation Agreement
After you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all issues, a separation agreement is prepared to put your agreement in legal terms. .
5. Formalizing and Finalizing
The last step is an application to the court for an uncontested divorce. Once you and your spouse have been separated for one year, a divorce can be processed by the court. .