Getting a Divorce

The divorce process is a stressful, emotional time and worry over financial changes only adds to that. Although your first instinct might be to hire a lawyer, you should also consider getting advice from an ACU financial advisor. Some things on your list of kids, house, assets, joint accounts, investments and debts need to be taken care of sooner rather than later, and there's where we can help. 

Do a financial inventory. As soon as you can, make a list of your properties and assets, debts, joint accounts, credit cards, loans, investments and any other financial matter as it exists at the time of your separation.

Get your papers in order. Your next step is to gather all of the paperwork that validates every aspect of your financial status at the time of your separation, including pension plans and credit reports. We can help you create this complete, accurate and relevant financial snapshot that also takes into consideration the future value of your accounts. Your lawyer will want this. And by getting everything in order, you can minimize the costs, disagreements and renegotiations normally associated with a separation agreement and divorce.

Here's what you'll need to do:

  • evaluate your insurance policies
  • review your beneficiaries
  • check your status and personal information with health and other providers
  • evaluate your benefit packages and make any necessary changes
  • advise Canada Revenue Agency of your change in marital status (it could affect your benefits)
  • communicate terms of your agreement with relevant pension plan providers, including Canada Pension Plan
  • review your will, estate and power of attorney documents
  • get a credit report and confirm that all changes have been documented

Establish your own accounts. We'll work with you to establish your own accounts. You'll need to divide up any joint accounts, assets, debts, and credit cards with your ex as well as take care of any large debts, especially credit card debts, as soon as possible. Your ACU financial advisor will help you create a personalized financial plan and budget. And remember, there'll be some transition time between a separation and the establishment of a separation agreement, so it's important to keep good financial records.

Understand your separation agreement. Terms and conditions of a separation agreement can sometimes be hard to understand. If you have any difficulty with the meaning or implications of your agreement, talk to your financial advisor before you sign. 

Financial planning for one. A separation and divorce can bring significant financial challenges. You and your ex will have two households to financially manage instead of one, and if you have children you'll also have custody and support payments, childcare and other surprises and realities. Your ACU financial advisor will work with you to create a new financial plan that supports what's been agreed to in the separation agreement. You'll also need to make and stick to a budget that recognizes your lowered income and make a plan to get back on track as a single person. We can help you there as well.

Although a divorce involves so much more than finances, getting the financial part right can help lessen the stress and give you the breathing room you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones. 


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