How can a mediator help?
A mediator can help you:
- Divide money and property fairly
- Determine child support and spousal support payments
- Make custody arrangements for children.
A mediator is a neutral third party. They may have a legal or social work background. They also have special training to help people settle disputes.
A mediator may not be the right choice for everyone. However, if you and your ex-spouse are able to talk things through fairly easily, it is an option that could save you money. Once you have reached an agreement, you should show it to a lawyer who will put it into legal language for you. Make sure you and your ex-spouse both show this legal agreement to lawyers before you sign it.
How can a divorce lawyer help?
A divorce lawyer can:
- Explain the law
- Provide advice on what to do, including some financial advice
- Help you work out an agreement without going to court
- Represent you in court.
When you hire a lawyer, it’s their job to work in your best interest. You and your ex-spouse should each have your own lawyer.
People on low incomes may get legal aid to help with some of the costs of getting legal advice. Rules vary from province to province.
How can a financial adviser help?
A financial adviser can help you:
- Understand child and spousal support
- Divide your money and property fairly (including pension plans)
- Assess the value of a family business
- Make sure you have enough insurance
- Plan for taxes
- Make a budget and savings plan.
Some people ask their lawyers for financial advice. You may also want some expert help from a financial adviser. It is best to find one who has been trained to work with divorce cases. This can be very important in situations where you and your ex-spouse disagree about sharing your money and property.
Why you may need financial advice about dividing assets
The truth is, your assets may not be worth what you think. A dollar in a bank account is worth a dollar, but what about other property and investments? Did you know:
- A dollar in your family home is likely worth just 90 cents, unless your home goes up a lot in value. Why? Because when the time comes to sell, you’ll have costs to cover, such as real estate commission and legal fees.
- A dollar in a family cottage is even worth less. That’s because, on top of all the other costs, you’ll pay tax on any capital gains when you sell.
- A dollar in a pension plan or Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) may be worth less than you think, after you factor in costs and taxes. Although you won’t pay tax until you take your money out, you still have to factor in that future cost or you won’t know what the investments are truly worth today.
Assessing the value of a business is even trickier. A lot of factors can affect its worth. You have to look at the nature of the business, its history, and its expected profits. You have to know what the outlook is for this type of business in the economy and how much its future depends on certain key people. These are just a few of the things that affect its value. It takes a professional to make a true assessment.
Remember: Everyone needs advice during a divorce.
Make sure you know where to get the help you need. Each province provides information about its laws and rules for the divorce process.
Dealing with Separation and Divorce. This Government of Ontario website has information about divorce, plus links to find a mediator or lawyer in Ontario.