Advice From a Lawyer – The Best Way to Divorce

Advice from a Lawyer: The Best Way to Divorce

In Ontario, over a one year period ending in the spring of 2013, there were 30,254 divorce cases started in the Superior Court of Justice. A typical divorce through the Court system can take two years, costs tens of thousands of dollars, is emotionally draining because it brings out the worst in some people and often creates a lose-lose situation.  There is a fresh approach to divorce now though and it’s called Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce is a process in which the common goal set at the beginning is to have a fair resolution of the issues at hand and that the case not be litigated through the adversarial system, being the courts. This approach saves people money, time and is generally more emotionally stable for everyone involved. The lawyers have a vested interest in resolution because they agree at the onset that they will be removed from the case if the matter is litigated. This also means that there is no incentive for the lawyers to create an opportunity to litigate and it also removes the threat of litigation in negotiations.

When Collaborative Divorce was first introduced in Ontario, it was essentially four people in a room working out the finer nuances of separation, such as but not limited to, child custody, division of financial assets, alimony, etc. This involved each spouse along with their lawyers. Occasionally an accountant or financial planner would be retained for additional expertise and guidance with respect to the equitable financial division of assets.

Over the years, it has evolved and now also includes health professionals like psychologists and parenting coordinators who have become the facilitators of the discussions. They are able to dissuade emotionally charged and irrelevant topics, and assist couples to stay on track. They will even freeze the conversation when it gets ‘uncollaborative’ or becomes unproductive.

It is very rare for a Collaborative Divorce agreement for a couple to breakdown and result in a traditional divorce process. Far more often it is a ‘win-win situation’ for both parties. If a case ends up going to court, it is the judge who decides, and that is not commonly a solution that either party is interested in.

Collaborative Divorce is a better way to separate or divorce in most situations. We know that often the paramount concerns for couples who are considering separation and divorce are their children (if applicable) and costs. This approach allows couples to maintain the financial wealth that they have established for themselves and for their children’s education funds. Parting ways doesn’t need to be a financial devastation requiring one party to start all over again. It can be a peaceful and amicable way to have a dignified divorce.

At Epstein & Associates, we work with you and your family during these changing times. We specialize in family law in Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Toronto and would be happy to meet with you for a complimentary consultation to discuss the collaborative approach. We can work with you to create a new beginning.