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Many of our clients ask "how long will it take" to resolve the legal issues arising from a separation.

The answer is not straight forward. That’s because the legal issues are only one part of dealing with a separation. There are significant emotional issues that impact on the decisions that need to be made to address the legal issues.

Each spouse will go through a grieving process as part of a separation. This means working through the five stages of loss and grief – and there are usually no shortcuts. The first stage is denial, the second is anger, then bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.

The decisions that a spouse makes when dealing with the legal issues of a separation will be impacted by the stage they are at in the grieving process. Some stages are better places to make good decisions than others. The decisions that a spouse would make when in the angry phase will be very different, and probably not as constructive, as the decisions they make when they have accepted the separation and are ready to move forward with their lives.

How long does it take? That depends. The biggest factor in determining how long it will take to resolve the legal issues arising from a separation is how quickly, and constructively, the spouses move through the emotional phases so that they are ready to resolve the legal issues.

The emotional divorce needs to happen too.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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