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Cutting Costs of Divorce

Lawyers charge by the hour so you can often reduce your legal fees in the following ways:

1. Obtain the original of your Marriage Certificate before you start proceedings.

2. Discuss the date of separation with your spouse and if possible agree on the date. But beware: different dates have different consequences when it comes to division of assets and liabilities. If in doubt, seek advice from your lawyer.

3. Discuss custody issues with your spouse and attempt to resolve who gets custody or access. Judges do not know you or your spouse or your children. Mature parents should be able to put the interests of their children above their own. Judges and lawyers would not recommend choosing joint or shared custody as compensation for injured feelings.

4. Work out an access schedule that takes into consideration the needs of the children and the timetables of the parents. Older children should have more input into any schedule.

5. Set out the specifics of any special needs of any child along with the impact on expenses, custody and access.

6. List all of the assets of both parties; identify whose name the asset is in, and when each asset was obtained.

7. List all of the debts of both parties; identify whose name the debt is in, and when each debt was incurred.

8. Obtain the last three years of tax returns from Canada Revenue Agency(CRA) and any notices of assessments for both parties.

9. Obtain copies of recent (representative) pay stubs.

10. Set out the details of any motor accident or injury settlement obtained during the marriage.

11. Set out the details of any inheritances settled upon either party during the marriage.

12. Set out the financial picture of each party at the date of the marriage.

13. If you lived with your spouse prior to marriage set out the date of commencement as this may be relevant for support purposes.

14. Set out the pension details for both parties.

15. Set out the details of any medical problems for either party.

16. Obtain proper arms-length appraisals of any major assets.

17. Perhaps the most important way to minimize your legal bill: Keep the lines of communication open and refrain from inflaming the situation.