Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To
When Facing Divorce

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 first steps and divorce in Ontario.

 

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To
When Facing Divorce

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 first steps and divorce in Ontario.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Divorce Checklist: 5 TO-DO's To Do 1st

Pretty well everyone knows that I’ve been married three times and, yes, I’m single AGAIN! Kicked to the curb. I know the toll divorce can take on a body emotionally and financially. But there are some things you can do to take the financial sting out of divorce even as you learn to cope with the one-ness. Here’s my Divorce Checklist of the To-Do’s that you’ll want to do first.

What do I do first when facing divorce?

First create a new financial plan. Contrary to what a lot of folks think, a financial plan is not something you create and then stick to like gum to a shoe. You have to tweak it. And if you get divorce, you’re likely going to have to do a major overhaul.

A little a’feared of taking up the reins of your money ‘cos the other guy always did it? Start with the basics, like your budget (yes you’ll need one more now than ever before) and your cash management (the overdraft protection you buy to see you through the rough spots should be gone in six months.)

Divorce: What Do I Need to Know About Insurance?

Review your insurance.  Were you on your mate’s health insurance at work? Do you have your own life insurance? Did you consider your partner to be your disability plan? It’s time to take a good look at what you need to do to put a safety net into place for you, and maybe also for your kids.

Is An Emergency Fund For Divorce?

Rebuild your Emergency Fund (EF). Your emergency fund exists for things like illness, job loss, and, yes, divorce. Having used up your EF, make it a priority to put it back into place. If you’re just making it each month as you adapt to your new budget, look for small things you can do to slip away a $10 or $20 each week for your EF. Look hard.

DIVORCE CHECKLIST: How Do I deal With Joint Credit?

Get your name off all the joint credit. I despise joint credit. I get why you both had to sign the mortgage, but the car loan? The line of credit? The credit cards? Ugh! If you’ve personally signed for joint credit, your responsibility for that credit doesn’t go away because you are separate or get a divorce. You have to get your name taken off that credit or lenders may come banging on your door down the road.

Do I keep the Matrimonial Home?

Consider selling the house. While you may want to maintain some stability in your life — and in the kids’ lives if you have them — emotional stability shouldn’t come at the cost of financial stability. Your home may be your castle, but holding on to a home you cannot afford for sentimental reasons is a recipe for future financial disaster.

The decision to stay in the family home should be a black and white one: run the numbers. If you can comfortable stay in the home, stay. If the home is putting your new beginning and the rest of your life at risk, sell and get something more suitable to your new status and budget.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade: 5 TO-DO's To Do 1st When Facing Divorce 1

The Top 3 Divorce Mistakes People Make

1. Hiring a lawyer before understanding all their negotiation options

2. Succumbing to emotions at the expense of their financial future

3. Not starting with a smart, legal and financially savvy go-forward plan

DIVORCE CHECKLIST: 10 Matrimonial Home Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Do I or my spouse want to keep the home?
  2. Do I really want to stay in a home that comes with memories?
  3. What is the value of my home?
  4. What time of year is the best for selling this home?
  5. Can I qualify for a mortgage?
  6. Can I afford to pay that mortgage?
  7. Am I keeping the home for the wrong reasons?
  8. Can I afford to buy another house near to my children?
  9. Am I able to do upkeep and maintenance on this home?
  10. Where would I want to live if I didn’t live here?

3 Ways We Can Help You

FREE Separation Plan

A personalized Report for your situation. Understand what’s involved with support, debts, banks accounts, pensions and your home BEFORE you start any legal processes.

FREE Recorded Message

Not everyone is ready to talk with someone in person. You can call The Common Sense Divorce any time and listen to a pre-recorded 2-minute message about our services.

FREE Telephone Consultation

Speak with us about the divorce process in Ontario and how The Common Sense Divorce can help. Schedule a free telephone assessment and consultation.

Do I Have To Sell My House When I Divorce?

It doesn’t matter whose name the title is in, nor does it matter if it was owned by either of you before you married.  If this is the home that you and your spouse have been living in, it is likely to be considered the matrimonial home and it will be divided between you.

The rule of thumb – the matrimonial house is going to be sold.  Sold to you, sold to your spouse or sold to a third party.  The implications of each are very different.

The Matrimonial Home: Buying, Selling & Mortgages

If you are considering either of the first two options, the key is determining whether it’s viable for either of you to stay in the family home. There are three main questions: Can either of you actually afford to keep the home? Can that person qualify for a mortgage on their own?  And, how will keeping the home affect that person’s financial future?

Remember, if you are planning to buy out your spouse, you will have to assume the whole existing mortgage as well as pay out your ex’s share of the home’s equity. Most people live in homes that require two incomes, so trying to maintain the home on half as much income after divorce is just not realistic for everyone. 

If you are planning to sell the matrimonial home, it’s really important that you and your spouse are on the same page to best take advantage of the market.  This is not the time for potential buyers to smell a divorce deal in the air.  As well, remember that your real estate lawyer will need a signed Separation Agreement in place before they can divide the proceeds of the sale of your home.  Without that Agreement, your funds will sit in trust until there is an Agreement that tells the lawyer exactly how to divide up the assets.

Should I Buy Another House Before I Have A Separation Agreement?

If you are planning to buy a new home post-divorce, here’s one simple piece of advice that is worth it’s weight in diamond studded, solid gold bricks.  DO NOT BUY another house until after your Separation Agreement is signed and in place.  You are going to need that Separation Agreement in order to qualify for your new mortgage and there is nothing that will put you in a bad negotiation situation like having to sign because your mortgage lender needs you to have it in place by next Friday in order for your new house to close.

The Common Sense Divorce has a full team of Realtors, Mortgage Brokers and Home Appraisers that are specially trained to deal with divorce.  They understand the divorce process and they know how to package a deal that works in your best interests. 

Are You Entitled To Share The Matrimonial Home?

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