divorce mediation victoria bc
Top five mistakes are easy to avoid. You do not need to be scared, you just need to be organised.

Being In The Dark About Family Finances

If your spouse has handled all the financial matters in the family, it leaves you in the dark about all of your family assets, income, and debt. This could make it difficult for you to gather the funds you will need to move out. It also makes it easier for your spouse to hide assets or debts.

Solution: If you are thinking of leaving your common law relationship or marriage, get copies of past tax returns, house appraisals, bank and credit card statements, pension information etc. Check for any unusual activity, such as large withdrawals or transfers. Make a list off all the assets and debts you may have and their value at the time of separation.

You should also plan for at least three months living expenses post separation. In divorce, it normally takes about three months to start working out the finances.

Not Getting Professional Help Soon Enough

In divorce, many people worry about the cost of lawyers and the courts. This makes sense, as separation is stressful and expensive.  However, many people wait too long to get professional help, and make bad decisions early on, which hurts them in the long run.

Solution: Try a process which is designed to reduce conflict, like mediation.

Mediation is a decision making process that uses a neutral third-party mediator to meet with both parties and negotiate a settlement. Usually the Mediator is an experienced family lawyer trained in mediation.

Mediation can provide couples with a lot of flexibility to make their own decisions about what works best for their family, compared with a trial, where a judge makes all the decisions.

Even if you do not settle all your divorce issues through mediation, you can cut costs if you make some agreements and save the more contentious issues for court. For some couples the easier decisions involve the children, for others it is easier to work out the division of property.

Mediation may not be appropriate for all couples. A good mediator will help you decide.

Letting Your Emotions Get The Better of You

Emotions run high in divorce. It is easy to argue about points that are meaningless in the long run.

Solution: Do not use the divorce as a way to get back at your spouse. Instead, approach it like a business arrangement. The goal is to get out of a mess as quickly and cheaply as possible.

If you rely on your lawyer to vent, or solve minor disagreements, it will get expensive fast. Instead, seek emotional support from friends and family, a support group, or hire a Divorce Coach.

Remember that every call and email you send your lawyer will cost you money; so use your money wisely. More legal time spent on your file means higher divorce costs, and higher divorce costs means there will be fewer assets and cash left for you and your family.

Failing to Make A Budget

In divorce, paying for two households is much more expensive than one. Separating spouses often underestimate living expenses when they are planning on leaving a relationship.

Solution: Create a budget for all your monthly expenses (rent, utilities, childcare, gas, food, medication, personal care etc.). Don’t forget your monthly loan or credit card payments. If you have borrowed money from friends or family to fund your divorce, include those loan payments in your calculations as well.

Your budget will also help you complete a financial statement with your lawyer, so doing this work up front will help your legal bill as well.

  1. Losing Sight of The Big Picture

A lot of people look back on their divorce and wonder why. In the heat of the divorce, when emotions run high, it may seems like every point needs to be argued and every setback is a catastrophic defeat.

Solution: Try to let go of any emotional attachments you may have to things. During your divorce there will be give and take on all of the issues. Consider your priorities, and try to be realistic.

Sometimes divorcing spouses are attached to the family home, but don’t realize that they can’t really afford it after the divorce. Your main focus should be on making sure you’ll have enough money and security to create a life for yourself, and your family, after the divorce, not solely focusing on one issue –such as keeping the house.

In divorce, many spouses also fail to realize that their divorce settlement can last many years, perhaps even the rest of their lives. Financial planning can help people transition from a married to single lifestyle by prioritizing their financial goals and developing realistic expectations. As noted in the recent National Post article “Changes in your relationship status can have a major impact on tax return” your relationship status may effect your tax status for years to come.

If your the financial situation changes, such as losing a job or getting a higher paid job, child support and spousal support amounts may need to change.  Consult a lawyer.

If your the financial situation changes, such as losing a job or getting a higher paid job, child support and spousal support amounts may need to change.  Consult a lawyer.


A divorce can have a catastrophic impact on your life. Be prepared and gather information. Get professional help and select a process that will be efficient and economical. Manage your emotions, set clear goals, and keep an eye on the big picture.


Jayne Embree B.A. M.A.

Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist.