How To Help Yourself With Separation And Divorce Issues

I always encourage my clients to get as much information about the process as possible.

For instance, our website has information about cases and the court process. And even though that can be overwhelming, it is a good start for a lot of people to help them know what questions to ask before they meet with us for an initial consultation to decide if we are the lawyer for them.

It also helps to focus on what jobs need to be done, such as putting your financial information together or the facts that you are going to use to make your claim to be the custodial parent. You can be getting letters from your children’s hockey coaches and teachers saying how involved you are in the lives of your children. Start gathering your bank statements showing the value of your assets at the time that you separated. These are just examples of some of the information that will help your lawyer in moving your matter along, which will save them time and you money. Buy some files and keep copies of e-mails and answers that you get from your lawyer. Keep copies of everything that you give your lawyer and bring them with you to meetings.

And also, be realistic in what your expectations are and be prepared to give something up. I have often heard a good separation agreement or court order occurs when neither party is happy with it because it means you have both given up something.
The current economy is having a definite impact on people and on the stress levels of people having to go through a separation and finalizing the issues resulting from it. My best piece of advice is make sure you have a good support system in place, ideally around the time of the separation. If that is not possible, seek a professional counselor. It does not pay to have your lawyer as your counselor because, though we can be a sympathetic ear, your money is better spent dealing with an expert. It is very helpful to talk to someone who is trained and equipped in dealing with stress, depression, anger management issues, whatever is needed, or just someone to say, “Okay, here’s how you can help yourself deal with what you’re going through.”

Perhaps you can find that person through your place of worship or a referral from your family doctor or a friend. A lot of times, your place of employment, either through your healthcare or your health benefits covers counseling. I encourage my clients to be proactive. It will help you during a difficult time. When you are being inundated with e-mails and faxes from your lawyer or your other spouse’s lawyer and you are in the thick of some court attendances, a negotiation or mediation, it is nice to have someone there that you can go to and help you get your thoughts together and find some perspective.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with a family law issue in York Region, Durham Region or Toronto, contact Feldstein Family Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a February 25, 2009 interview with Sanja, Family Lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group, a Toronto Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.