Taking Charge of Your Separation and Divorce

Taking Charge of Your Separation and Divorce

impact – options – opportunities

I was part of a “one stop” information panel of experts discussing the emotional, legal, financial, and child aspects of divorce.  I thought the handouts provided would be very helpful…….the information if provided both within this post, as well as attached within a pdf.

Being smart about divorce means arming yourself with as much information as possible…..here’s a start.


What is A Smart Divorce?

The Smart Divorce process will help you to:

  • understand the “emotional divorce” versus the “legal divorce”
  • understand the various dispute resolutions available
  • make informed decisions
  • minimize the financial, legal and emotional stress

Be SMART about your divorce.

State your goals and objectives at the beginning. Make sure these are realistic.

Maximize your information and knowledge base.

Avoid reacting to your emotions.

Retain the best possible divorce team your budget allows.

Treat your divorce as a business transaction.

How to start The Smart Divorce

  1. Develop your support network – therapist/supportive counselor, support groups, clergy, divorce consultant and friends.
  2. Choose your family lawyer carefully – interview 3 divorce lawyers.
  3. Be informed.  Understand the dispute resolutions:   Do-It-Yourself; Negotiation; Mediation; Collaborative Family Law; Arbitration; Litigation; private companies who offer divorce mediation/resolution.
  4. Put your children’s best interests first.
  5. Hire the right team of professionals based on your needs – parenting expert; financial adviser and others.
  6. Get your finances in order.
  7. Stay organized – create your divorce notebook and divorce journal.
  8. Have a vision for how you want your life to unfold and develop strategies to get there.

You may contact Sarah by email at [email protected]Opens in a new tab.

or, by calling her office at (647) 493-1800

Deborah Moskovitch is a divorce consultant and educator, and author of The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers, Counselors and Other Experts. Sarah has become an opinion leader in the media and has shared her insights and research on television and radio to explain that divorce can be managedOpens in a new tab. in smarter ways.

Copyright ©2010 The Smart Divorce® and Deborah Moskovitch

All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Deborah Moskovitch and The Smart Divorce.

Legal considerations

“Taking Charge of Your Separation/Divorce”

Handout – Legal considerations

Presentation by:

Wendy E. Best, Q.C.

Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP

February 25, 2010

1. Custody/parenting

(i)                 shared

(ii)               joint

(iii)             sole

2. Child Support

(i)                 Federal Child Support Guidelines

(ii)               Alberta Child Support Guidelines

(iii)             base table support

(iv)             Section 7 expenses

(a)                child care expenses incurred for employment, illness or education

(b)               medical/dental insurance premiums re: child

(c)                health/dental expenses over insurance by at least $100/year (ortho, counselling, physio, drugs, glasses)

(d)               extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school

(e)                post secondary expenses

(f)                extraordinary extracurricular expenses

(v)               split custody

(vi)             shared custody (40% of time)

(vii)           incomes over $150,000

(viii)         undue hardship

(ix)             retroactive

(x)               financial disclosure

3.        Spousal Support

(xi)             Divorce Act

(xii)           Family Law Act/Adult Interdependent Relationships Act

(xiii)         Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines

(xiv)         entitlement

(xv)           periodic

(xvi)         lump sum

(xvii)       combination

4.     Property

(i)                 What is property

(ii)               unmarried: constructive trust/unjust enrichment

(iii)             married: Matrimonial Property Act

(a)                exemptions

(i)                 gifts from third parties

(ii)               inheritance

(iii)             owned before marriage

(iv)             damages in tort

(v)               insurance policy (not re: property)

(b)               increase in value of exempt property – 13 factors

(c)                transfer into joint names

(d)               all other property acquired – presumption of equal sharing

(e)                property (assets/debts) acquired after separation or changes in value

(f)                gifts or non bona fide transfers

(g)               exclusive possession of matrimonial home

5.         Miscellaneous/Common Misunderstandings

(i)                 divorce

(ii)               legal separation

(iii)             abandonment

(iv)             conduct

(v)               what to expect/ask in your first consult

Financial Considerations

7  Secrets to a Successful Divorce

Handout- 7 Secrets to a Successful Divorce

Divorce demands financial decision-making that will alter the rest of your life. Most people have no knowledge of the specifics of the finances of divorce. Most people are too emotional to make sound financial decisions regarding their future. Quite often poor choices are made, choices that are permanent. You must educate yourself on the finances of your divorce.

We have a deep and personal understanding of the financial implications of divorceOpens in a new tab.. At Alberta Divorce Finances, we empower men and women going through divorce by educating them on the financial and tax implications of the decisions that they will make in their own divorce.

A 50/50 Property Split is Not Always Equal

What do you need to know to ensure that your settlement is both fair and equitable?

  1. 1. Money will almost always become an issue in divorce
  1. 2. Understand that a 50/50 division of property is not always equal
  1. 3. Make sure that you can afford to keep the house before you settle this matter
  1. 4. Understand the “true” value of your investments and Registered retirement savings plans
  1. 5. Ensure that Pensions are valued properly.
  1. 6. Ensure that the payor of child and/or spousal support has Life Insurance to fulfill future support obligations.
  1. Many divorce decisions have implications for your tax return

Divorce is a very difficult and very emotional time and bad decisions are made under stress.  You must become educated on “what you need to know” about the finances of your divorce.

Visit: Alberta Divorce Finances.com

Child Considerations



v            The way in which parents manage their separation/divorce impacts their children; each individual can

make a difference by their OWN choice of behaviors

v            In separation/divorce, co-parents need to shift their former intimate relationship to that of neutral

business associates linked for the long-term in the “business of co-parenting”

v            Children’s needs and feelings should be a priority; they require reassurance that they are loved by

both parents and belong to both parents and extended families

v            Giving kids permission and opportunities to be attached and to maintain relationships with both

parents/families is important to their well being and growth/development

(*some exceptions: family violence, substance abuse, profound mental health issues)

v            Conflict is typically a part of separation/divorce; how it is managed has an impact on outcomes for

children; kids need to be kept out of “adult issues” including parent conflict and encouraged to regain

and resume their own life pursuits to meet their developmental ages/stages

v            Most often children view separation/divorce differently than the adults involved as they do not always

see it as a way of improving their life; parents can be sensitive to this difference in perspective

v            Children need understanding and guidance to manage and communicate their unique feelings and

behaviors through the process of separation/divorce

v            Shame, blame and embarrassment are feelings that children may express; they need reassurance and age

appropriate explanations that separation/divorce is not their fault

v            Attention to the variety of loss/grief reactions of both adults and kids is important through

separation/divorce; Examples: sadness, anxiety, fear, anger and feeling physically unwell

v            Parents may be less available for their children particularly in the first year of separation/divorce

(“diminished parenting”); this may negatively impact kids outcomes as they need their parents most at

this time of change and transitions

v            When possible, minimizing and “pacing” the multiple changes in their lives as a result of the

separation/divorce is helpful for kids; strive for predictability and routines

v            Transitioning between two households can be difficult for some children; each parent can help their

children to manage this challenge with sensitivity, organization and support

v            A Parenting Plan is an essential working document that helps provide a framework for adults and

children to manage the separation/divorce; a detailed plan that is reviewed regularly helps address the

family’s changing needs

v            An individual’s influence and/or control with their co-parent is typically limited; their focus and energy

is better placed on developing a consistent life with their children in their own home

(Sandy Shuler, B.S.W., R.S.W., C.C.F.E. 2010. Reproduction only by permission. Sandy is the Co-author of the established “Effective Co-Parenting:  Putting Kids First” program;  Co-author of “Groupworks: training for small group facilitatorsDeveloper of the “Fairway Divorce Solutions Nurtured Children Parent Education Seminar”;

Sandy is Director/Consultant of Family Life Works Inc.; www.familylifeworks.caOpens in a new tab.; 403-540-5608)

Deborah Moskovitch

This blog post was written by Deborah Moskovitch the author of "The Smart Divorce", the catalyst for this website. This evergreen book covers how to manage the divorce process for a less painful result.

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