Divorce and Separation
Preparing for Separation and Divorce, What You Need to Know and Do (or Don't Do)
Benjamin D. Levine has been practing family law in Prince George and Northern British Columbia for over 16 years. If you are contemplating divorce, ensure you are prepared and understand the consequences of any decisions you might make, i.e. get a lawyer. Having a lawyer at your service that knows all the ins and outs of the continually changing field of family law will be your strongest defence against making uninformed decisions you will regret down the road. That being said, here are some of the essentials you will want to know and do before filing for divorce.
Make Copies of All Financial Information
Before getting a divorce you will want to make sure you have records of all financial documents including:
- Credit card statements,
- Pension plans,
- Retirement savings plans,
- Investment account information,
- Mortgage payment information and a record of payments,
- Records of any other loans,
- Saving and checking account statements and account numbers.
- Tax returns going back approximately 3 years and all schedules and attachments
- Corporate and trust records if there is a family business . These include:
- Financial statements
- Trust or corporate tax returns
- List of business assets
You might find yourself surprised at how fast documents disappear, accounts close and passwords change during a divorce. The point here is to make sure you go into the divorce prepared. The more information you have at the start the better. However if necessary, we are prepared to track down missing financial records, vanished accounts and documentation to ensure you receive full disclosure.
Don’t Rush Into Anything or Make Rash Decisions
We understand that going through a divorce is highly stressful for anyone and that it can often feel like it is dragging on endlessly. However, it is of the utmost importance that you do not make rash decisions. Any decisions made, without understanding the consequences, just to speed up the process and get things over with are decisions you will likely regret. Our primary goal in this process is to make sure you fully understand your rights and the consequences of any decision or agreements you might make to ensure you don’t find yourself in an unexpected situation with surprises down the road. We put your interests first so any advice or guidance we provide will be solely based on your needs and goals.
Social Media is Not the Place to Vent (Don't Do It!)
With technology as integrated in our lives as it is today you might not think about the consequences your online presence has on the outcome of your separation. Essentially your right to remain silent on this front is your best friend. It is true that anything you say, post or share on social media can be used against you in the court of law and may strongly influence the outcome of your case. For instance, the courts are now taking into consideration this evidence in divorce proceedings to assess qualities such as your character, your ability to parent and the stability of your behaviour. Likewise we will investigate and make use of any evidence on social media that benefits your case whether it be in your favour or against the opposing party.
So you should not post about your divorce online, ever. Even if you have all of your privacy settings turned on, your information can still be found online. As an extension don’t get tagged in posts that reflect poorly on your character or behaviour, by others. If someone has tagged you in such a post by a friend or family member, request that person take it down. Your actions are also taken into consideration, when assessing your character and other factors, so be mindful of the information you share online and offline and who you share it with. Finally make sure your lawyer knows how social media and technology related evidence will affect your case. As technology and social platforms rapidly evolve so do the roles they play in court. We at Levine & Company are constantly working to keep up with these ever changing platforms to ensure that the information we have is as up to date as possible. This ensures that any advice you receive from us is advice you can trust and count on.
Find Support and the Appropriate Channels to Direct Your Emotions
We at Levine & Company understand divorce can be a very emotional and stressful time and of course you will want to vent or talk about the difficult situations you are going through. Even though social media is not the place for this, there are several avenues in which you can find support reassurance and help while going through this difficult time. Find support in counsellors, psychologists, friends and family and of course we are here to listen to you as well and help you find solutions that are aligned with your needs and allow you to move forward confidently.