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Financial considerations of divorce after a long separation

Just because a married couple has gone through the necessary steps to get a separation doesn't necessarily mean they are ready to take the next step and formally end the union. There are numerous financial aspects worth considering before filing for a divorce. This is true no matter how much time has passed since a physical separation. 

In Ontario, a couple can divorce after a separation of one year, but many choose not to do so. If a separation agreement has been drawn up, signed and filed, it is binding and may suffice for some people for a long time. However, the time may come when one party wishes to move on and finalize matters. When a divorce goes through, however, some things will change.

For example, if one spouse receives health benefits through his or her employer, more often than not, the other spouse shares in those benefits. This will no longer be the case after a divorce, and it could have a financial ramification neither party considered. Claims to a spouse's life insurance and pension will also be affected by a divorce.

In some cases, this may prompt the spouse who has the most to lose to demand more money. A separation agreement may make this difficult, but not impossible. Still, if the decision to proceed with a divorce is a one-sided one, it may be wise to be prepared for push back.

For many people, a marriage will never feel truly behind them until a divorce is finalized. However, it is probably not a step to take without consultation and professional guidance. An Ontario family lawyer can assist with all aspects of the separation and divorce process.

Source: moneysense.ca, "Would getting a divorce after separating mean my ex gets more money?", Debbie Hartzman, March 10, 2017

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