Contentious Divorce: Deciding What Matters Most to You

Angela Princewill

October 6, 2019
separation and divorce agreement Pickering

Divorce is stressful for all involved parties including minor children. If you had a contentious relationship with your spouse leading up to the divorce, chances are the divorce will also be contentious and be even more stressful.

You or your spouse can experience a range of emotions from hurt to anger and more. This can create difficulties when attempting to make necessary decisions for the separation and divorce agreement including, but not limited to:

1. Division of Marital Property

2. Disposition of Marital Home

3. Child Custody

4. Child Access

5. Child Support

6. Spousal Support

To help reduce the stress of a contentious divorce, you need to decide what matters most to you. What are your goals and objectives? Do you want to be the custodial parent so your children live with you most of the time? Is there a particular marital asset you want more than others?

Your divorce lawyer can help you determine what things matter most and where you should devote your interests. It can be difficult to negotiate with your future ex-spouse. Yet, it is necessary if you want to have control of how property and child matters are handled.

Otherwise, if both parties cannot make an effort in reaching these important decisions, they will be placed in the hands of the court. It is important to remember judges will make decisions that are not always in either parties’ best interests. Additionally, in matters involving minor children, they will make decisions based on what is in the children’s best interests, not the parents.

Options for Reaching Agreements in a Contentious Divorce

Before heading to court and having a judge make all decisions for both parties, there are a few different options that can be used to help reach agreements. Some parties attempt meditation where they agree to sit down and attempt to negotiate on various issues.

During mediation, both parties do not have to be in the same room with each other. Instead, they can be separated in different rooms. They can also negotiate their wishes through their respective divorce lawyers. The parties can also choose a mediator to help act as an unbiased third-party to help move negotiations forward.

Another option is arbitration. The parties select an arbitrator to hear their concerns and wishes. Each party presents their case to the arbitrator through their respective divorce lawyers. Just like mediation, the parties do not have to be in the same room as the arbitrator.

The arbitrator will make decisions for the parties that will be binding. Binding decisions are similar to those a judge would make in court and they can be appealed.

If there are still outstanding issues after mediation and arbitration, then the parties can pursue litigation in court and have a judge rule on these issues.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Lawyers in Markham, Toronto, Pickering, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.