What is the difference between a separation and a divorce?

Usually, when people get in touch with me for a separation, they do not know how to proceed:

“I want to get a separation from my spouse … Where should I start? What can I do?”

I give them advice in relation to their specific situation.

What kind of advice? First of all, it must be determined that the client really wishes to end his relation with his spouse and that it is not a decision made on the spur of the moment. These are always very difficult situations for the parents and their children, and we must be 100% sure that this is what they really want to do. Then, we must choose the right professional to intervene in the matter at hand. We can also suggest group therapy in order to save the relationship. If the person has already tried this path and he or she really wants to end the relationship, then we must decide on what approach must be taken. In fact, if the two parties are still able to speak to one another but do not love each other anymore, then the best approach is to get in touch with a mediator. What is the role of a mediator? The mediator is not a referee and he will not make a decision for the couple. His role is to optimize the communication between the two parties. In general, the success rate of this approach is pretty high. However, it only works if two conditions are met:

  1. This implies that both parties will get involved in the process in good faith.
  2. It also implies that the couple is not in a relationship where the one of them has control over the other. At that time, this could result in a favourable settlement for the dominant person. It this case, it may seem that everyone will agree, but the dominant party will get much more that the law would have attributed to him or her had the dispute been legally enforced.

It should be noted that a couple with children who consults a mediator is entitled to six sessions covered by the Quebec government.

Towards the end of the mediation process, when there has been a draft agreement ready that satisfies both parties, it is important to ask for a copy and to consult a lawyer. The latter will review the agreement with the parties involved and will have the freedom to provide the complete legal information since his role is to watch over the interests of the parties, in comparison with the mediator’s role of neutrality.

Since I am quite familiar with most mediators in the region, you can contact me. I will be happy to refer the appropriate mediator in your case.

However, if the situation requires a lawyer’s intervention, we will set an appointment to discuss the right strategy to follow to best conclude your life together.

Sharing the assets (house, car, pension plan, properties and furniture, etc.)
Debt sharing (credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages, etc.)
What type of child care
Pension plan for ex-spouses
Alimony for the children