Many people who have been through a separation in Nova Scotia decide they will never get married again, so they think why bother getting divorced. While remarriage is one of the main reasons that long-term separated couples are motivated to get a divorce, there are some other important reasons you should consider.
One key factor to consider is whether or not you have a separation agreement in place. Without a legally binding separation agreement, you may still be liable for the financial foibles of your spouse, even if you are living very separate lives.
Another critical thing to understand is that, unless you have an to date Will excluding your spouse as beneficiary, your ex-spouse will inherit a significant portion of your estate when you die. In Nova Scotia, when you become legally divorced from your spouse, they are considered to have predeceased you when it comes to your will. This means even if you did not update your Will after a legal divorce, your ex-spouse will not inherit anything, nor will they be able to act as your executor.
If you have not divorced, your spouse may be able to make a claim on part of your estate through the Testator’s Family Maintenance Act, even if you have updated your Will to exclude them. The court may grant part of the estate if they decide there was not “adequate provisions” made for a dependent. If you die before you update your Will, and your Will names your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, then even if you are separated, your spouse will receive whatever you left for them in your Will. The exception to this is if there is a strongly worded clause in a legally binding Separation Agreement. As you can imagine, this can cause a lot of conflict for other loved ones left behind.
Some people do not want to formally divorce because of concern over losing health insurance coverage, or even some tax benefits available only to married people. Others are scared of the finality of divorce or have religious reasons. The decision
If you are ready to finalize your divorce, I would love to talk to you and help you close one chapter of your life, and open another.
Do you have questions about how collaborative law or any other family law issue? You can schedule a no obligation Issue Review Consultation by calling (902) 826-3070 or visit www.highlanderlaw.ca for more information.
Peter G. Duke - Associate Lawyer
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