Divorce and Separation Services

Divorce and separation is difficult. You are probably concerned or confused about the future. The situation becomes even more complicated if your children are involved.

What will happen next? How would we move forward once all is said and done?

Let us help you understand and simplify that process in three steps:

Step 1: Post-Separation Planning & Negotiation

If you have just recently separated from your spouse, or if you are considering divorce or separation, you may be concerned about your short-term living arrangements. Our first step is to help you mitigate the uncertainties of your future by creating and implementing a plan for you and negotiating with your spouse for the best outcomes where possible.

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Step 2: Separation Agreement

Creating a fair Separation Agreement gives you the benefits of greater control over the post-separation negotiation process and outcome. As Separation Agreements can require several revisions, we advise that you consult a family lawyer to prevent unforeseen complications. At times, going to court may be required.

Step 3: Divorce

Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage, and is required before you can remarry. The court judge will grant a divorce when you or your spouse have shown certain signs of a marriage breakdown. We can help you assess your personal situation, guide you through the grounds for divorce and types of divorce, and advise the best course of action for you.

Step 1: Post-Separation Planning & Negotiation

Post-Separation Planning

In the early post-separation period, we will work with you to implement a plan that incorporates your immediate and ongoing needs and goals. We will continue such work with you until your case is settled. Our goal is to put you in the best position to move on with your life.

We understand that, in the short-term, you may worry about where you will live, your finances, your quality of life, your future income, your new living arrangements, and perhaps your parenting agreements.

We can help you resolve all these uncertainties. Our experienced and knowledgeable family lawyers can help you navigate the often confusing paperwork and decisions involved in separation and divorce, aiming always for a positive resolution for you and your family.

Negotiation

Where negotiation is possible, we seek all appropriate disclosure from the other party so we can begin our analysis as to a fair and proper resolution of the issues. Where needed, we may seek experts to assist with business valuations, income determination, or the appraisal of family assets, such as the family home or other assets. Sometimes it is appropriate to obtain expert reports on what is typically known as “custody and access,” now known as “parenting arrangements” and “parenting time and guardianship.”

Once the disclosure and expert reports (if needed) are received, we can then begin the negotiation process. In many cases, the parties can negotiate a fair and proper Separation Agreement through their lawyers.

In other instances, the parties agree to attend mediation with their lawyers to explore the resolution of the file. Where a mediator is employed, the parties are able to choose a particular mediator, in which case we can provide expert assistance regarding the appropriate mediator for your file.

Step 2: Separation Agreement

A detailed Separation Agreement sets out the settlement details from parenting arrangements, income determination, and associated support issues, including child support, spousal support, future possible variations, division of family assets, and a division of debt. The parties have the flexibility to add as much detail as necessary to make the agreement effective in the short- and long-terms.

For instance, we can set out specific terms concerning the following:

  • Parenting time on a regular basis and over holiday periods;
  • Income determination matters; this is more difficult, where one of the parties may receive bonuses and stock options, or own a company that is the source income;
  • Future income and support reviews;
  • Family asset division and family debt division;
  • Specific issues particular to your family; or
  • How future disputes are to be resolved.

The benefits of negotiating a successful Separation Agreement are that the parties have greater control of the process and result, as opposed to leaving the outcome to the trial judge. If a fair and appropriate separation can be negotiated, the negotiation and/or mediation process should be explored.

A Separation Agreement can go through many revisions, and your family lawyers can help. If you, your spouse, and your legal team cannot settle certain items, going to court may be required.

We will discuss with you the best model for your personal case and background. Sometimes, we can start your Separation Agreement soon after your separation; other times, neither party is able to put effort into a Separation Agreement immediately if a “time-out” is required. Yet other times, both a time-out and document disclosure are required.

To negotiate a fair and proper agreement, both parties need to be able to engage in such discussions without reservation. It can take time to get to that stage, but in the meantime, we can work to ready your file for resolution.

Step 3: Divorce

Divorce is a legal termination of a marriage that can only be granted by the Supreme Court and is required before you can remarry.

The court will grant a divorce if you or your spouse demonstrates a breakdown in the marriage; for example:

  • You have been separated (i.e. are living apart) for at least one year;
  • One spouse has committed adultery; or
  • One spouse was physically or mentally cruel to the other.

We can help you gather all the necessary documents and information to start your divorce or separation process. We can also help with assessing finances, assets, debts, and resolving issues regarding your children.

Once we have gathered all the information, we can advise the best possible path to take.

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Get Started

Start with your post-separation planning and reduce the uncertainties.

Contact our office at 604 549-9961 or toll-free at 1-855-311-9961, or submit our Contact form.

As a new client, your first hour’s consultation with a Thomas and Associates lawyer is offered at $135.00.

Toll-Free
1-855-311-9961
Suite 1920 – 777 Hornby St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1S4