There are almost 6 million married people living in Ontario, yet more than 40 percent of their marriages will come to an end. Whether you are married or living under a common-law relationship, splitting up through a divorce terminating the marriage or through a separation is never easy.
The break in the emotional bond uniting a couple is usually accompanied by shared parenting of children and financial issues that must be reconciled before you and your spouse or partner can move on with your lives apart from each other. The key to a successful breakup is to avoid the following mistakes frequently made by couples.
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Mistake #1: Letting emotions influence your decisions
Anger, guilt, betrayal are only a few of the emotions you might experience upon realizing that your relationship has come to an end. Those emotions affect the decisions you make. For example, the guilt you might experience from believing that you contributed to the end of the relationship could cause you to not fight for the fair division of assets to which you are entitled.
Never make an important decision during the breakup when it could be influenced by emotions. Relying upon the advice of friends could help, but the risk is that friends might feel obligated to agree with you or might also be affected by the anger and other emotions you are feeling. You’re better off relying upon someone you trust to give you good, reliable advice, such as a lawyer practicing family law.
Mistake #2: Trying to negotiate a settlement without a lawyer
As cordial and amicable as the split might be at the outset, you need to know your rights and how to protect them. Your relationship with your children and your future financial security and independence are affected by decisions you make during your breakup.
Negotiating directly with your spouse or partner is a mistake that could have long-term repercussions for you and your children. A consultation with a lawyer who practices family law provides valuable information about division of asset, custody, visitation and support issues that must be resolved regardless of whether you are getting a divorce, separating or ending a common-law relationship.
Mistake #3: Moving out of the house before all issues are settled
Moving out of the house before all financial and child custody issues are resolved could impair your rights. This is particularly true when custody of a child is in dispute. Courts consider the best interests of a child and make an effort to maintain stability. The relationship each parent has with the child is an important factor as is the fact that one parent is the primary caregiver.
Remaining in the home prevents your relationship with your children from being affected. If you feel threatened by your spouse or partner, a lawyer can help you obtain a restraining order from a judge. Violation of a restraining order is grounds for arrest.
Mistake #4: Turning the children against the other parent
One of the factors judges take into consideration when deciding custody issues is the conduct of each a parent in fostering and maintaining a child’s relationship with the other parent. Attempting to turn your child against your spouse or partner or limiting access with the child could cause a judge to deny custody to you.
Speak to a lawyer
An experienced lawyer is a good source of guidance and legal advice when splitting up. Ontario lawyers know the laws pertaining to divorce and separation and the procedures to follow to protect your rights.