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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-08-2015, 06:34 PM
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Default Counselling to work out separation agreement details

Hi,

My STBX and I are still working out our separation agreement a year after the split. We've agreed to the major financial points (adult child, so spousal support, no child support) but don't know what to do about the "details." These are things like life insurance (who pays, how much, until when), wills, remarriage, material changes, etc. Rule of 65 applies in our case so these things are important, especially to her if I kick off early.

We're looking for an impartial person (lawyers are OK but not in a law office environment) with a lot of experience in separation agreements who can inform us, "In this situation, most people do A or B," so that my STBX and I can choose A or B.

Do such services exist? What are they called? Has anyone used one and can you recommend the process?

Thanks,
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:56 PM
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This so cute - mediators are probably what you want...
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:03 PM
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Congratulations. If you have gotten this far, and both have received independent legal advice then I commend you.

If you have not done this then you are treading on very thin water and it will likely come back to bite you.

An accountant might be a good resource?
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:34 PM
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Links17 - glad to see that I amused you, unfortunately I wasn't joking. Having spoken to a couple of people who have gone through mediation the feedback gotten has been universally negative. Basically, they had to go back to square one, start filling out forms, yada, yada, yada, as the bill piled up.

So yes, I know what a mediator is and what they do. But I'm looking for other options.

Arabian - Thanks for the advice on the accountant. Yes, we've both had independent legal advice. Both of our lawyers invoiced for several thousand dollars and had us fill out more paperwork with a little advice thrown in.

We're trying to avoid court but would like to end up with an agreement that is both fair and enforceable later.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:46 PM
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I think accountants (and clergy) are the most under-utilized resources in family law. It really comes down to the almighty dollar in the end so why not get a pro to help? Accountants are significantly less expensive than lawyers and they can help your ex (and yourself) budget and perhaps plan for life's future unforeseen circumstances. Accountants are often expert witness in divorce litigation and often are the ones who sort out the muck after the lawyers are done with things.

Insofar as life insurance do you have an employee assistance plan at work (can't remember if you are still employed or retired) - if so, try to access that for referrals. Wills - you should go to an estate lawyer to draw one up but you can likely get lots of good free information from an insurance agent.

Remember that you can dot all yer "eyes" and cross all yer "tees" but there is always a lawyer out there who, for the right amount of money, is willing to try to break the separation/divorce agreement. I know, I've had to defend mine for the past 6 years. Ridiculous waste of money but not a thing you can do about it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:59 AM
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We did the same thing with a mediator.. which was actually a couple (he ex-lawyer, she ex-social worker), both understood accounting and we came to a written agreement after a total of about 12 hours work. They advised us to get independent legal advice to sign off the agreement....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ifonlyihadknown View Post
Arabian - Thanks for the advice on the accountant. Yes, we've both had independent legal advice. Both of our lawyers invoiced for several thousand dollars and had us fill out more paperwork with a little advice thrown in.
My lawyer said it was good... suggested a few minor tweaks.. which I declined as I didn't want to "rock the boat" and just get the thing signed off.

Her lawyer uttered those infamous words... "I can get you a better deal".

She bit... and thus begun a 3 year long, solid 6 figure legal battle from hell... in which far and away the only "victors" were each of our lawyers.

I salute what you are trying to do... but do feel the need to point out potential pitfalls.

All the best...
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:25 AM
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You can use collaborative lawyers if you want. In Alberta at least.

Collaborative Divorce in Alberta | Collaborative Divorce Alberta Association – CDAA to find all about it.

The nice thing about collaborative lawyers is that you both have to hire one on each side, and the lawyers sign an agreement that they will avoid litigation and work to achieve an agreement outside of court.

Meaning, if one of you decides it isn't working and wants to litigate. Both lawyers will quit and you will need to find yourself a new lawyer for court. This prevents conflict of interest and they work in your interest to avoid court as opposed as telling you to go to court (aka more $$$$ for them)

However, as in my own experience I went to interview one and she told me point blank that it wouldn't work based upon how confrontational/unreasonable my ex was.

And yes we are in court, and reality is sometimes you need to make a stand to get you want. We will be back in court again in the new year, and the judge had ordered us to go to mediation (using a regular mediator).

Surprisingly, we were able to iron out the ant hills, but the mountains we will see each other in court. Was it worth it? Sure.

If you have ironed out the major deal breakers (doesn't happen often here on this board hence everyone's response) and just looking to figure out the the minor details, then I would suggest mediation or collaborative law.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:07 PM
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I spoke too soon, so my ex today just informed me on the advice of the lawyer that she does not agree to anything that we agreed upon and will have our day in court. LOL...

Systems work, people don't.

Do I believe mediation / collaborative law works? For sure, but like school, you're going to learn only if you want to.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:18 PM
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My partners ex refused to listen to ANYONE including her lawyer. It went to court where she tried to tell the judge himself where the law was wrong. She still bitches about how wronged she was. Some people never learn because they are too self righteous.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
My partners ex refused to listen to ANYONE including her lawyer. It went to court where she tried to tell the judge himself where the law was wrong. She still bitches about how wronged she was. Some people never learn because they are too self righteous.
It's actually more crisply defined than "self righteous". By the looks of it, most of us here are dealing with something like this (for a summary, read the blog in the following link):

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f...87/#post198952

Unfortunately, the players in the system have discovered that these types of people are a never-ending source of billable hours... so don't expect any "official" recognition of this in the foreseeable future.
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