Posted on July 30, 2012 · Posted in Blog

Separation and Divorce Options

Time flies! It seems like it was just yesterday when you were saying, “I do.” That’s now changed to, “I don’t.” Well, don’t be too hard on yourself because you’re not the only one making the “Big D” decision. Almost half of all couples in North America are calling it quits these days.

If you ever find yourself at the cross-roads of divorce, you have four options. Each of them have their good and bad points, so weigh the pros and cons carefully and make an informed decision that is right for you.

Kitchen Table Divorce Separation Agreement Book

Kitchen table divorce is also referred to as “do-it-yourself” divorce, and where you and your spouse attempt to work it out yourselves. The best advice here is to be careful! Many mistakes have been made in the past by others, and people often have “buyer’s remorse” when they try to do it themselves. During separation and divorce, emotions run high while complex decisions are being made, and those decisions are often irreversible.

This option may be for you if:

  • you have been together for a very short period of time
  • you have no children
  • you have no property
  • you have no debt to be divided
  • you have equivalent incomes
  • neither of you are asking for spousal support

If you and your spouse can look at this list and agree it’s for you, then it may work. A DIY divorce may be accomplished quickly and inexpensively. However, I would still highly recommend that you each get independent legal advice to ensure the durability of your agreements.

Collaborative Family Law

If you feel you need to use a lawyer, but you’re worried about the cost and stress, the collaborative process might be a good alternative for you. The Okanagan Collaborative Family Law Group would be a good place to start looking.

The primary goal of collaborative family law is to settle unresolved issues in a non-adversarial manner, ending with a written separation agreement. It originated in the United States in the early 1990s, and came to BC a few years later.

If you use this process, you and your spouse:

  • commit to each other that you will not to go to court
  • focus on the future, rather than the dire past
  • each hire a lawyer who has been trained in the collaborative family law process.
  • may also involve other professionals, who will help both of you to work through any issues you may have. These professionals may be a:
    • divorce coach
    • financial planner
    • counselor.

This process tends to:

  • reduce your stress
  • reduce your cost
  • be much quicker than litigation
  • be less expensive than traditional litigation.

Try not to fight. You will pay lawyer’s prices on a per hour basis. This option gives you a better chance of staying out of court, because nobody wants their dirty laundry aired in public.

If the collaborative process fails and/or if litigation is threatened, then you must start all over.

Traditional Method

Most of us have heard the horror stories of bad divorces. Some stories are true, others partially true, and still others outright fiction. The traditional method of separation and divorce is well known, and not much will be written here. This “old” method is the reason that family law in BC is changing in favour of mediation and keeping families out of court.

The Family Relations Act will soon be known as the Family Law Act. On March 29, 2012, the Notice to Mediate (Family) pilot project expanded to all BC registries of the Supreme Court. The project encourages families to reach agreements without the time, cost, and emotional burden of going to court. However, the law will allow exceptions if mediation would be unsafe.


The fourth divorce option, mediation, has become the process of choice by an increasing number of couples. In fact, the new BC Family Law Act (2011,) as seen above, encourages couples to use mediation over litigation.

Why is Mediation the very best choice? It can:

  • be much quicker
  • cost significantly less
  • reduce any conflict

It can also help you:

  • salvage any remaining relationship
  • control the separation and divorce process
  • keep your hard earned assets
  • carry out your private business behind closed doors, and
  • stay out of the court room and away from the eye of the media and public

The mediator:

  • works for both parties,
  • helps them reach an agreement on the matters pertaining to their divorce,
  • is usually not a lawyer, but understands the acts governing separation and divorce,
  • charges you a one-time fee, saving you thousands of dollars.

When all issues have been resolved the couple is encouraged to each seek out a lawyer and get independent legal advice to finalize the agreement. This is similar to a business deal where the business people negotiate the terms and the lawyers “paper” the agreements.

Mediation offers the best chance for the most “dignified” way to get a divorce. If you have some respect left for each other and you want to be fair, it could be your best choice.


On the Doorstep of Divorce, or do you need help in Rebuilding After Divorce?
Give us a call at 250.707.0928, or request a consultation.

divorce mediation kelownaAbout Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services

We are not expensive lawyers; we are family divorce mediators and rebuilding coaches.  Our boutique divorce mediation firm has become Kelowna’s first choice when dealing with separation and divorce, and beyond. It is possible to reduce stress, time and conflict. Our mediation and rebuilding models educate and empower our clients, so that when you leave you have a document that will stand the test of time, and a process for rebuilding your life.

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