Preparing To Meet Your Family Lawyer

While each couple and family going through a separation is unique,  there are certain practical issues which are common to all separations.  Your family lawyer is your guide and advocate to assist you in re-organizing the family’s property, finances, children’s schedules, living arrangements in both the short-term and the long-term.

Working with your family lawyer and providing her with as much relevant information at an early stage will make the process move forward efficiently.    

During the initial meetings with me, we will explore the facts of your case and review the basic law and procedures.  After the facts are on the table, we then develop a strategy with a view to resolving the issues efficiently and at the same time insuring that your rights and entitlements are protected and advanced.

During our initial meeting we will discuss the background of the separation and the basic facts including:

  1. The particulars of the marriage – when and where were you married; 
  2. When did you separate;
  3. The children – names, schools, activities, any particular needs;
  4. Property -  What did you own at the beginning of the marriage, at the time of separation, and now;
  5. Debts – what debts did you have at the beginning of the marriage, at the time of separation and now;
  6. Support – what role each spouse has played during the marriage, what is each spouse’s income.


In order to prepare for the fact-finding stage you should begin to collect, at minimum the following documents:

  1. Income tax returns and notices of assessment for the previous 3 years;
  2. Basic list of assets and debts as of the date of marriage;
  3. Basic list of assets and debts as of the date of separation;
  4. Copies of bank account statements, investment account statement, RRSP statements, Pension statements,  as of the date of separation;
  5. Copies of mortgage statements, credit card statements, line of credit statements other loan statements as of the date of separation;
  6. If you own your own business, financial statement and income tax returns for the most recent year-end;
  7. Marriage contract, if any;
  8. Documents of personal loans, promissory notes etc. from family members or friends;
  9. Powers of attorney from or  granted to the other spouse by you;
  10. A basic budget;
  11. Children’s current expenses for activities, schooling, medical costs, orthodontics etc.

Do your best to collect these documents at an early stage – it is a tedious process digging up and organizing the paperwork, but the earlier in process that you provide this information, the more efficiently we can  move your matter to a resolution.

I look forward to meeting you.    Nadine Barmania