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An isolated tree in a field with a Jim Rohn quote on top of the image

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree!”

-Jim Rohn


The thought of going through a separation can be frightening. For some people, the prospect is overwhelming. Change can feel impossible to achieve. If you find yourself unhappy and in an unhealthy and dysfunctional relationship, it may be time to make a move. After all, you are not a tree.

Your first move: Talk to an experienced family lawyer

The first step in addressing your fears about separation is to reach out and talk to an experienced family lawyer. You probably have a list of questions and concerns about what separation my look like for you and how separation might unfold for you, your children and your spouse. All the unknowns can add to your anxiety. A caring, attentive family lawyer can provide you with answers and explain your legal rights and responsibilities on separation.


It is also important to understand that no matter how difficult your marriage is, you always have options. Your lawyer will explain your legal choices and advise you on the best course of action in light of your unique needs and personal circumstances. Once you have some legal knowledge, you will be empowered to make informed decisions with confidence about how to change your current unsatisfactory situation.


If your spouse is a bully, abusive or difficult to communicate with, your lawyer will take the steps to ensure your rights are respected and protected throughout the process of separation and that communication with your ex-spouse stays focused on the legal issues.

Your second move: Move out

Once you have decided to separate from your spouse, there are some significant considerations to be addressed. Your personal lives and finances may be intertwined. You will need to start to untangle things. See here for tips on how you can prepare before you separate. 


Another major consideration is where you will live after separation. The question of whether you should move out or your spouse should leave the home is an important one. This decision can give rise to significant legal and financial consequences. It is highly recommended that you get legal advice from Valerie, an experienced and trusted family lawyer, before making this decision.


If you can not afford to move out, or you choose to not move out (e.g., because of work schedules and parenting responsibilities), you can still separate from your spouse. It is possible to live “separate and apart” while still residing under the same roof as your spouse. You ought to notify your spouse in writing that the relationship is over and you should also take concrete steps such as sleeping in separate bedrooms and closing joint bank accounts so there is no dispute that separation has occurred.

Your third move: Move on

You can not fully move on until you have resolved the legal issues arising from your separation. This includes resolution of parenting time, making decisions for children, child and spousal support, mobility issues, and division of assets and debt..


Your family lawyer will explain your legal rights and responsibilities in relation to each of these issues and help you explore options for reaching a resolution. You may want to proceed to resolve your legal issues by way of a negotiated separation agreement, mediation, the collaborative divorce process or by court proceedings to obtain interim or final orders.


You will need to file for a divorce order to legally end your marriage even if you are able to resolve all other issues without going to court. An experienced family lawyer can guide you through the process to finalize your separation and divorce so you can move on with your new life.

When you are ready to make a change, reach out for guidance

You are not a tree. You do not have to hold steady in the face of tension, bickering and stress. If you are unhappily married or in an unsatisfying common-law relationship, it may be time to move on. If you are afraid of the idea of separation and divorce, reach out for legal help. Once you are better informed about the legal path ahead, your future may seem less uncertain and less daunting.


To get legal advice and guidance in making the best decisions given your unique circumstances, contact Valerie M. Little Law Corporation. Ms. Little's practice is exclusively devoted to issues of family law in Burnaby, Coquitlam, and New Westminster. No matter what family law questions or issues you might be facing, she has years of experience she can utilize to help you resolve your family law current situation. Her and her staff are attentive caring and understanding. For more information about how Valerie can help you move forward with your life, call (604) 526-3333 or email her office at today for your confidential telephone or in office consultation.



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