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

How Much Will Divorce Cost In Ontario

The article in the Toronto Star tells the story of a local York Region resident who spent $60,000 so far on his Ontario divorce.  $60,000 in legal expenses alone!  That does not into consideration the extra added expenses like days off work, mortgage penalties, realtor fees, benefit expenses, extra tax expenses, lost wages.  $60,000 each??!!!

The Real Costs of Divorce in Ontario

“It is a very costly and financially draining process,” says the York Region resident. “Sometimes I just cry,” the devoted dad says of the impact on his kids, now aged 4, 6 and 8.

With four in 10 marriages ending in divorce, Canadians can learn from this guy. Calling it quits can carry a price tag ranging from manageable to painful, with the main costs typically including lawyers’ fees, court filing fees, transcripts and documents, and experts such as tax advisers and real estate appraisers.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To How Much Will Divorce Cost in Ontario 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

The Straight-up Facts About the Cost of Divorce in Ontario

Nobody seems to want to be straightforward about how much it is going to cost to divorce in Ontario. The reality is that each file really is different and the drama and complexity of each file is going to ultimately decide how much and how long it’s going to take.  Here is the Ontario data point blank:

How do I minimize the cost of divorce in Ontario? 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.

Of course, there is a time and place for each of the legal processes listed here. But do not be fooled, you will pay for the legal process that you choose.  I’ve come to the conclusion that you can tell this to people until the cow’s come home, but they are still going to do what they’re going to do.   Be assured that divorcing in Ontario is going to cost and its going to cost you according to the complexity of your finances, the level of acrimony between you and your spouse and the legal process you choose.

Ontario Data: The Cost To Divorce

Family Mediation: $4000 – $6000 per person: Tends to be the fastest and most cost-effective. (When researching family mediation make sure you are comparing apples to apples and you include the costs of your financial disclosures and your independent legal advice (ILA).  Plan that mediation will take most families 8 weeks to 6 months to complete.

Collaborative Law: $7000 – $11000 per person: Plan that a file will take about 7 months to 9 months to complete.

Litigation Family Lawyer: $9000 to $16000 per person:  Plan that a file will typically be completed in 9 months to a year and a half (assuming court is not involved.)

Family Lawyer + Court ($14,000 – $20,000 per person)

Trial: ($30,000 – $100,000 per person):  Typical court waits are anywhere from a year and half to 4 years.

Uncontested Divorce Application: $632 – $1700 When you have completed your Separation Agreement through one of the processes above then you will apply for your uncontested divorce.  You can certainly do the running around the courts yourself and only pay the court filing fees of $632.  Most people find the numerous day trips to court, the time off work and the confusion of the court house to warrant paying the extra thousand dollars to have someone do it for you.

Amicable Divorce: Means Save Money on Your Divorce

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 REALLY NOT NEWS TO ANYONE: Yes family mediation is better for your kids.  Yes family mediation typically costs less.  Yes 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."

More Than Just The Money: 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.

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How to Avoid A Messy Divorce

  1. Seriously consider mediation before lawyer litigation
  2. If at all possible, stay out of the Family Courts
  3. Gather and organize your financial documents
  4. Do your homework, understand how divorce works in Ontario

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.

When Spending Money On 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.