When a couple decides to separate or divorce, it can be a complex, emotional process to detangle assets and debts. If you and your former partner can work together and agree to as many terms as possible, either on your own or with the help of an ADR specialist, you can minimize time and expenses associated with legal fees and court.
Frequent Sources of Conflict
- Decisions over selling or keeping property
- Emotional ties to property
- Relationship history
Conflict Mitigation Strategies
- Make a list of all assets and debts, make sure that you know what needs to be split up. Try to agree on the value of all property.
- Keep conversations focused and “business like.” Try to set aside the emotional aspects of separation that you may be experiencing while you have the conversation. Communication will become unproductive by shifting the focus away from the business at hand and onto blame, anger, hurt and other difficult emotions.
- Try to keep the big picture in mind and pick your battles.
- Figure out what is most important to you, before you discuss every piece of property with your spouse
- Negotiate in ‘good faith’ to build trust and transparency
- Seek out professional help along the way. Financial professionals such as Certified Divorce Financial Analysts or other financial professionals who specialize in separation and divorce matters can be very helpful in sorting through complex financial issues. Also, it is always important to seek out legal information and guidance as you have questions, to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities related to property division, and before you finalize your decisions.
- ADRIA Directory – Choose “Divorce and Separation Mediator” in the ADR Services dropdown menu for practitioners specializing in Separation and Divorce matters.
- Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta – Property Division for Married and Unmarried Couples resource: