Money Smart
Divorce Mediation

Money Smart
Divorce Mediation

Financially Wise Separation Agreements

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about the benefits of an amicable divorce in Ontario.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about the benefits of an amicable divorce in Ontario.


Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Why You Need To Have an Amicable Divorce

“Be assured there is no shortage of individuals within the broken family law system that will make lots of money off of your dysfunction, fighting and your acrimony!  For goodness sakes, choose to keep it amicable”

– Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Let’s face it. Divorce is not the easiest process you will ever face and it surely is not the most pleasant. Like everything else, there are ‘bad ways’ to face divorce and there are better ways. ‘Amicable divorce’ is by far a much better way of wading through the process.

We meet with clients facing divorce every day. I am often asked for my advice and thoughts on their particular situation. And if there was one piece of advice we want to pass on to clients it’s about the benefits of working together with your spouse and keeping the divorce process amicable.

“AMICABLE DIVORCE??!! It’s a divorce for goodness sake!”

The Benefits of an Amicable Divorce:

‘Amicable divorce’ does not mean that you need to like each other… or even agree with each other. ‘Amicable’ simply involves keeping emotions in check and consciously working at de-escalating conflict. This keeps the power of decision-making between your partner and yourself (as opposed to the courts) and avoids escalating the divorce process.

Most people do not understand that you do not need to take your divorce case to court. In fact, in Ontario, you are not even required to have a lawyer, if that is what you choose. Aside from the actual divorce application, which must be filed in a court, ALL of the other decisions can be made by you and your spouse.

Amicable is not about, 'we are not arguing' or 'we get along.' An amicable divorce is about dealing with the true complexities of your situation (your kids, your assets, your debts, your pensions, your mortgage) in a rational manner.

Tips for an Amicable Divorce

  1. Don’t assume you understand divorce. The rules, process and laws are different for every Canadian Province.
  2. Understand the real legal process in Ontario. What you hear from a friend or relative may have nothing to do with reality.
  3. Do it correctly from the beginning. You will spend more money trying to fix or undue a Separation Agreement that was not done correctly from the beginning.
  4. Move forward with your Separation Agreement when things are still amicable. Trying to reign it in later is way more difficult.
  5. Never, ever sign a Separation Agreement without independent legal advice or ILA. (NOTE asking a lawyer to notarize your Agreement is not ILA, it just means they witnessed your signature.)

Amicable is Better For Your Kids

There is a rule of thumb used by most divorce professionals. The kids tend to do well, if mom is doing well. Yes this is a generalization; it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter how dad is doing. It means that mutual respect is beneficial to your kids who are having to transition through your mess. Use this rule of thumb and take a higher road. Seriously, your children will survive your divorce. Your children may not survive the two of you battling it out in litigation. Parents, your kids did not ask for this. Put your big people pants on and walk through your negotiation process in a way that minimizes further pain on your kids.

Make Smart
Money Decisions
I'm not sure what to do?
I've never managed the money...
How do I plan for MY future?
Bag Lady Syndrome
(syn) or 'Street Guy Syndrome'
NOUN - The fear that one will become financially destitute after a divorce.
Family Mediation with a Financial Twist
“For most people divorce is less about legalities and more about finances, tax implications and making smart money decisions. This is why we started The Common Sense Divorce." – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide to Amicable Divorce 1

The Unofficial Rules of Divorce:

  1. Divorce gets prickly, even in the most amicable situation
  2. It’s often less about the legalities and more about the money
  3. People make expensive mistakes because they don’t make a plan
  4. Before you do anything, understand your rights, obligations & complexities

Amicable Divorce: Means Save Money

If your divorce goes to court…it is going to get expensive. Sometimes the only way you can get through to folks is to put words into dollars and cents.  Going to court can be expensive…very expensive. It will require additional lawyer hours, court costs and filing fees.  And then when it’s all done, you may not even receive the answer you were hoping for!

Think of it this way: when you go to court, someone else is going to make decisions for you regarding two of the most important matters in your life (usually your children and your personal finances.) Do you really want someone else making decisions about such important and such personal matters (with no guarantee that it will go your way)?

A better option is to work through a mediator or collaborative lawyers, who will help you and your spouse come to a viable separation agreement together. Either of these routes are generally faster and notably less expensive.

Let’s not fool ourselves, just because you have opted for an amicable divorce, does not mean that it is going to be easy (but then again, talk to anyone caught in a brutal court case with an angry ex and everything becomes relative). Opting for an amicable divorce requires that you are able to communicate well enough with your spouse in order to negotiate. It will take work and maturity. Your mediator or collaborative lawyer will help you to understand your rights and responsibilities and help to keep the process on course.


THIS IS NOT NEWS TO ANYONE: Family mediation is better for your kids. Family mediation typically costs less. Divorce mediation is faster, creates stronger agreements, helps people to be better co-parents and keeps you out of court. You can tell people. You can warn people, you can write articles. But inevitably there are some people that will have to learn the hard way.

Read what the Media has to say about the Family Law System

“Canadian Lawyer magazine’s survey on legal fees, shows that the national average estimated cost for a two-day trial is now more than $30,000. The average cost of a contested divorce was $12,000 per party.” But to get to that trial, the average cost was more than $45,000 per party."

Amicable Divorce: Privacy and Confidentiality

Ever thought of this one? The more contested and emotional your divorce, the more other people are going to need to be involved. The more other people involved, the more your personal life is going to be out on public display for all to see.

Working together and keeping it amicable means that your privacy remains intact and your personal matters are revealed only to those that you choose to involve. Only statements that you have filed with the court are accessible to the public. Therefore, separation agreements, personal terms, negotiations and conditions may be kept between the divorcing parties – and out of the public eye.

Are You Entitled To Share The Matrimonial Home?

Learn more about how the matrimonial home is dealt with in Ontario Separation Agreements. 

What To Expect When You Call The Common Sense Divorce

Separation Agreement

Not everyone is ready to talk with someone in person.  You can call the Common Sense Divorce at anytime and hear a pre-recorded 2 min message about our services.

We will gladly take the time to speak with you about our services and the divorce process in Ontario.  The Common Sense Divorce offers a free 20 min telephone assessment and consultation.

We understand that this is a difficult time and calling us is a big step.  We are going to work hard to make this phone call easier, make you feel at ease and make sure that we respect your privacy.

We understand that you may be just researching and have not made any decisions.  We do not assume that because you are calling, that this means you are divorcing.

Amicable Divorce: The “Stick” Element

What good is spending outrageous amounts of money on a nasty  contested divorce agreement only to have to revisit it two years from now because someone is bitter and upset? You want to create an agreement that ‘sticks!’ That happens when the two of you work together to make it happen.

Let’s be real. You are divorcing someone who, at one time, was the love of your life. You are hurt, you are sad, you may even have desires for vengeance! Regardless, when all the dust settles, you will need to live your own life. Chances are that a bitter nasty divorce is not going to turn anyone into a better person.

If there are children involved, that other parent is still going to be a part of your life. ‘Bitterness now’ evokes ‘bitterness later.’ How you proceed now is going to set the tone for many years to come. Working together and trying to keep it amicable creates the possibility for healing and forgiveness…if only for yourself.

Not every divorce can be amicable…but many can and I assure you, there are great benefits to working towards it. Always keep in mind: you can divorce a spouse but you can never divorce a bitter, angry ex-spouse.