Many people go through the process of Separating, but do not actually complete the Uncontested Divorce process. There are a number of reasons to finalize your divorce, but here are a few notable reasons that you may not have thought of:
1. You cannot remarry until you are legally divorced
You may feel that you never, EVER want to remarry…but that is how you feel now. Should that desire to remarry ever change, a divorce takes time to finalize! Do you really want to be dealing with your Ex-spouse, hoping that your divorce moves forward without a hitch… all while trying to create a lasting relationship with the new love of your life?
2. You could be responsible for your Ex’s debt
If a couple is separated but not divorced, their lives are still legally and financially intertwined. If your estranged Ex goes on a spending spree with shared credit, you could still be responsible for the ensuing debt and damage to your credit rating.
3. Lottery wins are considered matrimonial property
Much to the dismay of many an estranged spouse who imagined that a lottery prize would be a ticket up easy street after a divorce, lottery winnings are marital property and subject to division and distribution. Courts have brushed aside all other arguments. Prizes won by married couples during a marriage are considered marital property, regardless of which spouse purchased the tickets.
4. Your Ex has claims on your benefits and pension
For some this may be a good thing while for others, not so much. Divorcing may not remove an Ex’s claims on such, but if there are other dependent people involved in your life, the divorce should at least make such matters clear as to who has claims on what benefits.
5. There are time limits on claims you may make
The person from whom you are separating may be very different from the person you are divorcing years later. Financial circumstances change, altering one’s financial status. As well there are statutes of limitations on any claims for support in most Canadian provinces.
6. Because “separated” is still “married”
You may call yourself divorced. You may consider yourself single but… you are still married. Many dating services and websites require ‘proof of divorce’ before allowing new members to use their services. Expect this “detail” to put a damper on your dating life.
7. Your Ex could ‘disappear’
If your spouse moves and doesn’t tell you or they’re from a foreign country and they decide to return home, you may not be able to locate them later. We see such cases all the time. Judges often require you to hire a professional investigator to locate your spouse in order to facilitate the divorce. That cost is YOURS to bear!
8. You could be held liable if your spouse is ever sued
Is your spouse self-employed? Does he or she work in an industry that is at higher risk of being sued? Do they participate in high-risk extreme sports? Are they inclined to forget to shovel the ice from the driveway? As your legal spouse, there remains a chance that you could be named in a lawsuit against your Ex. Matrimonial assets are definitely not liability-safe.
9. Your Ex may be allowed to ‘unplug’ you!
It’s not just matrimonial assets involved… Think of it this way: you are in the hospital in critical condition and important decisions need to be made about end-of-life care. Do you really want your ex spouse making those decisions for you?
10. Your Ex could still make claims on your estate after you die
In Ontario, your Ex, even if you’re ‘separated,’ is still considered your legal spouse. Unless your divorce is made legally official, your Ex is entitled to a portion of your estate, leaving a mess for the loved ones you leave behind.