Women need financial plan for divorce
Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 06:00 am
Divorce is never easy, but the process can sometimes be harder on women – especially financially.
“One thing I notice is that one of often the biggest obstacles women have in getting a divorce is affording the cost of a lawyer,” says Lee Olesen, a St. Albert family law lawyer. “Part of the problem is often they’re not working, yet they don’t qualify for legal aid.”
Without their own income, women like stay-at-home moms can find themselves at a disadvantage when a marriage breaks down. This is especially true if money issues are part of the reason for the split.
“They might have a joint account, but there might not be a lot of money in it,” Olesen says. “The couple’s credit is maxed out, so they don’t have access to the funds needed to retain a lawyer.”
Olesen advises women to be prepared to be able to finance the cost of at least getting some support in place to help fund the process of getting the divorce.
“If it means applying for and getting separate credit, then do it.”
While a woman may be entitled to half of the matrimonial property, including the couple’s house, legal assistance is required for the process of dividing and obtaining the financial value from the assets, and that will cost money.
For both spouses, every trip to the courtroom costs money, making it hard to pin down an average cost for a divorce.
“Even getting child support can be a challenge and it means having to go to court,” he says. “And in these circumstances obtaining spousal support can be even more problematic. Trying to get a husband to pay often involves going to court for the wives.”
Women should also be aware that they require the spouse’s consent if they intend to travel outside of the country with the children.
Couples can put a travel agreement in place when it comes to the kids, but should the other spouse not agree, it could mean another trip to court to make an application for the travel.
“The other person has no choice but to make an application and go to court, and will likely get the order,” Olesen says. “Unless there’s some compelling reason not to.”
Disputes over property can also increase trial time for a divorce.
In Alberta, if a wife suspects her husband of selling or giving away property to keep it from her, she must begin legal action within one year of the date the property was sold or given away.
If there are no disputes over property or other matters and the parties agree to the terms of the split, lawyers can execute what is called a desk divorce in which the lawyers for both parties file all of the necessary documents and a divorce is granted within a matter of months.