Divorce and Money

ASK Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and money

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is Canada’s no-nonsense, money expert. She is a is a multiple time best-selling financial author, with her books making the list of the 150 bestselling Canadian books of the past 10 years.  For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail's trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

My Spouse always handled the money before our divorce. What do I do now?

Many marriages have one partner who takes most of the responsibility when it comes to managing the money, which inadvertently leaves the other person in the dark about a lot of things. When it comes to divorce and money, trying to get through it without understanding your own personal finances is like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel. You can lurch your way along, jamming on the breaks every time a threat looms, or you can put the pedal to the metal, but the whole time you’re careening down the road you’ll be worrying about what you’re going to hit. Needless to say, there’ll be some mess to clean up when you finally reach your destination.

What does this mean?

It is YOU and you alone that is now singularly responsible for managing your money. Many people attempt divorce and their prevailing singledom without organizing their finances beforehand. This is understandable, as it may be hard to set aside emotions long enough to get everything in order. However, not doing so can result in serious issues with your financial future. If you’re not familiar with how the money flows in and out of the family coffers because the other has always taken care of it, it’s time to step up to the proverbial plate. If you are someone who has always lived without a financial plan, then take this time of transition to financially recreate yourself going forward. Get a better understanding of the divorce and money.




Every unique couple faces unique challenges.
Understand how separation will affect
you, your children, your finances and your future.

Could I be on the hook for my spouse’s debts?

YES. Just as assets belong to the family, so do debts. Debt is one of the first things that must be addressed in a proper Separation Agreement. When it comes to divorce and money, it’s not enough for your partner to say that they will assume the debt… your name has to be removed from that debt also. And even if your partner is being reasonable about things, your creditors may not be as cooperative. That is why the financial ties must be severed sooner rather than later.

What does this mean?

When you divorce, it is your marriage that is ending, not your shared financial responsibilities. Even if your spouse accumulated debt during the marriage without your knowledge, you may be held responsible for it after the divorce. That is, of course, unless you take the proper and legal actions to sever all financial ties with your ex-spouse and safeguard your money.

How do I protect my credit?

When facing a divorce, your credit score may be the last thing on your mind. The end of a relationship is a traumatic event that is often compounded by unplanned costs and unfortunately, possible credit problems after everything has settled. Even during the most trying times of our lives, the world keeps spinning and the fact is, divorce can greatly impact your finances and credit history..

What does this mean?

When it comes to divorce and money, make sure you follow the proper and legal steps for separating your credit from your spouse’s and assess what needs to be done to preserve or restore your financial reputation. If you don’t, your credit score could plummet until everything is in order. The modern world revolves around credit, so a low credit score can have a devastating effect on your future.

I don’t want to spend a lot of money on my divorce.

Oh for goodness sake… nobody wants to spend a lot of money on their divorce! That’s a given. Still there are basically two kinds of divorces… dumb divorces and common sense divorces. A dumb divorce can be one of two extremes, where people spend the equivalent of a brand new Cadillac - emotionally duking it out in the court system. Or people go the other extreme and spend little to no time preparing their separation agreement properly and following the procedures to make it legal, binding, and enforceable.

The part that you don’t hear is that in the first example, hardworking families are basically giving away their family’s assets to a legal system that perpetuates conflict. And in the second example, families too often end up back in court, 2 years, 4 years and 7 years from now simply because the process was never done correctly from the get-go.

What does this mean?

Your entire future depends on how you walk through this process now. It simply means: invest enough into your divorce so that it is done properly and legally right from the beginning. An appropriate rule of thumb is that your divorce should cost about the equivalent of what most people spend on a nice vacation.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Canadian best-selling financial author, host of TV's 'till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron and co-founder of the Common Sense Divorce.

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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 consultation.

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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.

I’m afraid of my finances and I’m scared about money…

You should know the ugly truth first: even the most amicable divorce can leave you in financial ruin. Still, YOU are starting a new phase of your life and YOU need to manage your finances from this day forward.

You need to be aware of all the accounts you are responsible for, including bank accounts, mortgage loans, credit cards and utilities. You may or may not know how to pay bills, file your taxes or even balance a check book. Regardless its time to learn about divorce and money.

What does this mean?

If the mere mention of “finances” makes you groan, then The Common Sense Divorce will help you to learn how to create your own budget, manage your debt, and create a personal financial plan… from this day forward. The Common Sense Divorce is going to help you to financially move forward in your life.

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Ontario Divorce and Information Network

The Common Sense Divorce is pleased to be a founding partner and core sponsor of the Ontario Divorce Information Network (ODIN).

The ODIN Platform is a Free Divorce information service for Ontario residents researching separation and divorce in the Province of Ontario.