2. Get your finances and documents in order

What legal issues should I think about when I separate or divorce?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
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2. Get your finances and documents in order

Once you have decided to separate, you need to get your finances and financial documents in order. For example:

Separate your finances

Open a bank account in your name only. Get all your regular payments like pay, social assistance, or government child care benefits deposited to this new account.

List all your assets and debts

Include financial assets like RRSPs, chequing and savings accounts, TFSAs, and insurance policies. Also include physical assets like your home, car, and jewellery.

Make a list of all debts such as a mortgage, line of credit, and credit card debt.

Copy important documents

Make copies of important documents, like:

  • pay stubs, both yours and your partner's
  • financial statements for bank accounts and investment accounts such as RRSPs
  • insurance policies, such as home, car, health, and life insurance
  • tax returns, both yours and your partner's
  • business tax returns, if you or your partner have a business
  • documents that show who owns property like your home and car
  • documents that have details about debts such as a car loan, credit card, and line of credit
  • regular bills such as hydro and water bills

Make a budget

Figure out a budget for you and your children. Add up all the income you get each month, and subtract all your expenses from it, such as rent, food, and clothing.

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Canadian Bar Association Legal Health Check
Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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