The absolute wrong way to do divorce

Here’s how to avoid a bitter split and hold onto more money

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Eleanor McCain Jeff Melanson divorce

Eleanor McCain (left) and Jeff Melanson in a Facebook photo. (Eleanor McCain/Facebook)

Oy vey. Anyone following the entirely acrimonious and all-too-public divorce scandal embroiling french-fry heiress Eleanor McCain and former Toronto Symphony Orchestra CEO Jeff Melanson has been given an all-star lesson in exactly how not to end a marriage. Emotionally and financially.

Between the headline-grabbing accusations of remorseless cruelty, heavy boozing and rage and anger management issues being lobbed back and forth by both parties, the couple’s sense of personal dignity has taken more of a beating than their shattered union ever will. (It should be noted that none of the allegations submitted by McCain or Melanson have been proven in court.)

No doubt, a massive lawyer’s bill is being tallied up on both sides of the fractious division, too. Maclean’s perhaps put it best, calling the high-profile split “an epic marital meltdown.”

Sadly, divorce is a reality many couples will face: Recent stats suggest about 71,000 divorces occur in Canada each year, and more than 40% of marriages will end in divorce. (But buck up, Canucks: that percentage is 46% in the U.S. and 55% in Sweden.)

That marital fallout, of course, always has a price-tag attached to it—particularly if couples can’t part amicably. MoneySense recently ran the numbers, and put the cost of an uncontested divorce at a mere $1,000. Once lawyers get involved, though, the price steadily climbs. Recent figures show that the cost of a contested divorce ranges from $6,582 to $86,644, with the average falling at $15,570.

One way to get around some of these costs—and still have a neutral third party help you sort through the emotional and tax and money issues that come up during the process of separation—is to work with a financial planner that specializes in divorce.

The bottom line? A clean break is always the best way to hold onto more of your self-esteem and your pay cheque.

 

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