Sometimes, a divorce is a sudden decision or surprise initiated by one spouse. Other times, British Columbia marriages end more slowly and predictably, and spouses take some time to consider their options before calling it quits.
Regardless of whether one knows a divorce is coming well in advance or is left dealing with it more suddenly, getting organized is a key first step. While it can help to get everything together before presenting any paperwork, even those who are in a sudden divorce can put themselves in a better position by prioritizing these steps right away when they know a divorce is on the horizon:
- Create separate financial accounts: If all accounts are joint, and there is a dependent spouse, this dependent spouse is at risk of being “cut-off” at any point during a separation. Creating a separate account can help protect people from this risk. It’s also worthwhile to talk to a lawyer about what to do from there, whether it be withdrawing some funds, having a conversation with the ex or seeking a court order to ensure you have living expenses covered during the separation period.
- Start a “divorce calendar”: Having a handle on one’s schedule is critical for a divorce. To avoid missing deadlines, meetings with the lawyer or any other important dates, start keeping a divorce calendar with clear timelines. This will not only help keep things on track but can be of use in court if the spouse does not keep an appointment or adhere to an agreed-upon deadline.
- Keep track of relevant emails and paperwork: Simply put, there is a lot of paperwork involved in a divorce. Keeping papers in one place, and making sure to back up everything digitally, is a very good idea for people going through this process. Make sure this is a designated space for divorce-related correspondence and papers so that one can find information easily; a dedicated email folder is a great idea, for example.
There are many “tips and tricks” to help people get organized when going through a divorce. Speaking with other people who have been divorced can sometimes be helpful, as they may have some lessons learned or organization ideas to share. It is important to discuss best practices with a family law attorney as well, as they will know what files, accounts, dates and organization tools are most important when it comes to a divorce.