• Sarah Peel

So, you’ve separated. Now what?

By: Sarah Peel, Associate Lawyer

There is a lot to unpack after separation and a lot to think about:

  • How will your property be divided?

  • What happens to your debt?

  • What type of parenting arrangement will work best for your children?

  • Where will you live?

Division of Assets & Debts

Both the assets and the debts you’ve accumulated together throughout the duration of your relationship must be divided at separation, so proper financial disclosure of both assets and debts is typically one of the first steps following separation. Assets might include things like the value of your home, vehicle, pension, RRSP, and the balances of accounts, while debts will include things like mortgages, loans, and credit cards. A lawyer can help you sort through these items and give you advice on a fair settlement.


If you have children, there are a number of steps involved in ascertaining what will happen in terms of parenting time and decision making. You can try out the free tool on the Department of Justice website to get yourself thinking about what might work best for your new family dynamic. The biggest factor a court takes into consideration in determining what constitutes an appropriate parenting arrangement in any given separation is what is in the best interests of the children.

Regardless of whether you were common law or married, there is a lot to untangle, divide and sort through once you’ve decided to part ways. A lawyer can help you:

  • Communicate with your former partner about difficult subjects

  • Obtain proper financial disclosure from your former partner and advise you on what disclosure you need to make

  • Give you advice about the division of assets and debts

  • Help you negotiate a fair division of assets and debts

  • Help you determine a parenting arrangement in the best interests of your children

  • Direct you to resources to help you better understand co-parenting and the changing dynamics of parenting after separation

  • Advise you on your entitlement to spousal support

  • Advise you about the applicability of child support in your situation

  • Help you understand the legal process involved with finalizing your divorce

  • Draft a separation or parenting agreement

  • If court is necessary, a lawyer will ensure the correct documents are properly filed in a timely fashion

Divorce can be emotional and complex on many levels. If you have any questions about your own separation, we’re here to help.

DISCLAIMER: The publications on this website are intended to provide information of a general nature and not legal advice. The information contained in this publication is current to the date of the publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.

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It is in the best interest of both parties to sit down together and make an inventory of assets, household goods, and debts.