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Old 01-26-2016, 03:12 AM
Shawn-Toronto Shawn-Toronto is offline
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My other big advice in this process - if you and your spouse are reasonable with each other you can cut down on legal costs in a big way, and you can both share the savings.

One of the simplest things I did early in the process was do a walk-through of the marital home with my laptop and my spouse. The day before I'd done the same with just the laptop and a copy of Excel and I'd made note of all significant items. I'd already noted the items she came into the marriage with and the ones she did, and so from then on it was just a matter of picking out what was hers and what was mine. I'd already taken a first pass - those items that she'd advocated buying, that I knew were emotional for her, like the fancy china set, I'd noted as hers, the items I'd picked out I noted as mine. When we started the process, she was OK with all of my initial guesses, and we went through the rest of the furniture and other key items and put "his" or "hers" in the column beside. When we were done, I did a bit more work to get a current-value column beside each item, and when we were both happy, I emailed it to her lawyer and mine. This bit of effort saved thousands in legal fees and a whole heap of stress.

Another big thing I did early in the process that some people might find strange - I prohibited my lawyer from dealing with my wife, or her lawyer. His job was to advise me, I said I would deal with them directly, which in the end resulted in me dealing with my wife directly and her lawyer assuming the same role for her. I took my lawyer's standard template separation agreement and edited it myself, replacing all instances of "Applicant" or "Respondent" and replacing with my first name or my spouse's, and replacing legal jargon with language that could be plainly understood by anyone. I let my lawyer review it before I sent it off, and he was happy with it. This resulted in a very plain-text separation agreement that anyone could understand, that my spouse willingly signed and has worked well.
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