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  • Writer's picturePatricia Greco, CPA, CA

Hindsight Really is 20/20 When Approaching Separation/Divorce

It’s always easy to see where we went wrong when we are in a position to look in the rear-view mirror. “Hindsight is 20/20,” is a common realization. Perhaps we can learn where others made mistakes to learn what to do instead.

Here are some common mistakes when approaching divorce/separation:

1. Agreeing on splitting assets without a written agreement.

Agreeing on how assets will be split can be a simple or complicated issue to be agreed on and settled. You may view it as a simple process believing your situation is straightforward, but if there is no written agreement to document the decisions, one of the parties can serve the other with a claim after the fact claiming that there was no final agreement.

2. Preparing your own separation agreement.

Family law is complex and if your agreement does not meet the requirements under the Family Law Act, it can be challenged in court to have it set aside. There is a lot of information online but drafting your own separation agreement is never a good idea. This can be emotionally and financially costly. It’s just not worth it.

3. Threatening or warning your spouse about separating/divorcing.

When one spouse has the balance of power over many of the family assets, the threat of a divorce can, unfortunately, lead to immature and, even, destructive behaviour. It is difficult to appreciate that anyone could conduct themselves in a destructive manner, but it does happen when misuse of financial assets is perceived to hurt the other party. Monies available can be spent or disappear and/or liabilities, like joint lines of credit or credit cards, for example, can be drawn on by one spouse leaving the other spouse jointly liable.

Parties do separate for a number of reasons and, whether perceived to be amicable or not, it is a time filled with a vast array of emotions. It is a difficult time to be rational and objective. It is important to surround yourself with trusted professionals to steer you towards a reasonable resolution of your affairs.

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