There is much to think about when you are considering separating from your spouse. In no particular order, here are some of the things you should be considering when going through a separation:
1. Think of the Children
If you have children, they are likely the most important people in your life. You chose to have children with your spouse, and they need to be your focus as you go through your separation. Just because you are separating doesn’t mean you stop being parents, so please consider your children in any decision you make, or how you communicate with your spouse when the children are around. Family law decisions are based on the best interests of the children, and yours should be also.
2. Don’t Move out of the Matrimonial Home
Absent significant concerns for your or the children’s health or safety, if you separate you should not immediately leave the matrimonial home, which is the property where you live with your spouse. This can prejudice your rights regarding your children or the property itself. Speak with a lawyer about your specific situation if you are considering leaving the matrimonial home on separation.
3. Try and Keep the Peace
If you separate, you are likely going to remain living in the same home until an official agreement can be reached on certain issues. This obviously has the potential to create conflict. Regardless of how difficult your relationship with your spouse has become, try and remember that everything you do is for your children. It is more important to keep your house calm and courteous than it is to have the last word in an argument.
4. Seek Outside Support
Separation is a monumental change for families. Children may need additional support as you inform them of the separation. Parents may need support to adjust to a new relationship with their spouse as co-parents rather than spouses. There are supports out there. Many employers offer an Employee Assistance Plan where you can obtain limited free counselling. Most religious organizations offer counselling services. Help is out there if you ask for it.
5. Review your Will and Beneficiary Designations
Your relationship with your spouse changes on separation. They may no longer be the person who you want to inherit from your investments or estate should you die. A thorough review of your Will and beneficiary designations is necessary to determine if you want to make any changes to these documents as you separate.
6. Consult a Family Lawyer
You can make the best decisions when you are informed about your options. A family lawyer is the best person to give you a legal opinion about your rights and responsibilities as it pertains to your separation.
At Mills & Mills LLP we offer consultations where you can meet with a family lawyer to learn more about the legal process, and you can have your preliminary questions answered. Call us at 416-863-0125 or contact us online and we can schedule you to meet with a lawyer from our family law department to discuss your specific case.