Posted on May 27, 2012 · Posted in Blog

Divorce the Fair Way!

save money during divorce

I’ve been a Kelowna mediator specializing in divorce for the past 10 years and as a result, most of my friends and family now ask me for my advice when they’re facing their own. So, here’s what I tell them with a disclaimer, “I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but you need to know the following…”

First of all, question your spouse’s statement, “My lawyer said.” Unless it is in writing, don’t take it as fact and don’t be intimidated.  Even if it is in writing, it is just one opinion and not set in stone. Ask them:

  •     How much did your lawyer say that taking me to the cleaners would cost you?
  •     Would your lawyer say the same thing if I were his/her client?
  •     Can your lawyer guarantee that their result will be better than you and I coming to our own agreement? and
  •     Is your lawyer willing to put it in writing?

That last question will stymie them because there are few lawyers on this earth who would guarantee anything or put fees in writing when it comes to divorce. It’s too potentially volatile and unpredictable! The good thing about asking that question is that it will force your spouse to have an honest discussion with the lawyer about the pros and cons of litigation.

Second, be careful in believing a statement like, “My friend said…” If your spouse throws out what others did in their divorce, ask questions. After all, we’ve all heard of toxic divorces but we never really hear what happened behind the scenes. Most is myth, some is fact, and somewhere in between is truth. So ask:

  •     How many years did that friend’s divorce take?
  •     How much did it cost them?
  •     What was lost or gained in exchange?
  •     Do they have any type of relationship left, other than being enemies?

The kids: Keep the peace in front of the kids. Protect them at ALL costs and you, and they, will reap the rewards long term. Of critical importance– don’t bad-mouth your spouse. Your children are extensions of both parents. If you and/or your spouse are made out to be bad people, they’ll think they are, too. So take the high road.

It is what it is: At the end of the day, this a business deal and a parenting plan – period! Nothing more, nothing less. It is what it is. So keep your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health in mind while you go through the process. And above all else, try to keep your anger in check.

The BIG 3 in keeping your costs down?

1. Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge!
The more you know, the more you’ll save. There are tons and tons of free information out there, from government websites to personal blogs. Every aspect of divorce has already been researched, analyzed and written about. In fact, there are extensive archives full of previous divorce cases complete with names that are available to anyone. You don’t want to be one of those cases!

2. Organize!
Make a notebook with labeled dividers with all of the financial records including your tax returns for the past three years. Find out the value of your home and any other major assets. Your spouse may not deserve it, but ideally, you’ll make them a notebook, too. Lawyers charge an arm and a leg for doing this stuff for you. Remember that every phone call you make, every email you write and every meeting you have with your lawyer is recorded and billed.

3. Protect your sanity!
You go to bed with it; you wake up with it. It’s all consuming, but try not to get paralyzed by your emotions, or of the fear of the unknown. Find a good counselor that fits your personality, and get lots of exercise and/or fresh air, while eating properly.

Marriage is about love; divorce is about money – and the kids, and as one of my good lawyer friends says, “Govern yourselves accordingly.” It is one of life’s most devastating events, but it doesn’t have to define your life. You will survive and you will one day realize that the world is, once again, full of wonderment and colour.


On the Doorstep of 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.  Our boutique divorce mediation firm has become Kelowna’s first choice when dealing with separation and divorce. It is possible to reduce stress, time and conflict. Our mediation model educates and empowers our clients, so that when you leave you have a document that will to stand the test of time.

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