Once you and your spouse decide that your marriage is over, there are ways to make the divorce process less stressful. One of those ways is by negotiating the legalities. It's likely an emotional time for you both with perhaps some less-than-positive emotions. However, by communicating your wishes to each other -- either face to face, on the phone or through emails -- you might save a lot of time, costs and possible anxiety. You can do this with a mediator if being alone together is too emotionally volatile.
It is highly recommended that you and your former partner have separate legal counsel during this time. Negotiations don't have to be formal or adhere to any rules. Negotiating is about what works best for you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. But, anything you agree on should be written into a separation agreement -- including things like spousal and/or child support and custody particulars.
To negotiate or not to negotiate
Negotiation isn't always the answer for a separating couple, but it is often the simplest road to the resolution of any legal concerns. If you want to keep your divorce out of the court system, negotiating might be your best choice.
Unfortunately, if there is a history of abuse in the relationship, negotiation might not be safe, nor fair. If you believe your partner can't be trusted -- for instance, if he or she might try to keep crucial information secret -- negotiation might prove difficult. Another reason to rethink negotiation is if you have a court order against your spouse or if you are in need of one.
Knowing your rights
Negotiating a divorce requires you and your partner to discuss serious legalities regarding the dissolution of your marriage. Some potential discussions may include:
- Who stays in the house
- Issues concerning your children like custody and child support and decision making
- How the marital property will be divided
As part of the negotiating process, you might want to send your partner an offer to settle that stipulates certain areas where you are willing to agree in order to settle some or all of the issues between the two of you. Experienced legal counsel can ensure any and all documentation, such as an offer to settle, is handled appropriately.
Divorce typically isn't easy, but there are resources readily available to you who can guide you through these challenging times. An Ontario lawyer might be able to help you negotiate a fair and equitable divorce agreement and provide guidance when it comes to the legalities surrounding your particular circumstances.