Frequently Asked Questions

We have collected these Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you on your journey. If you have a question and don’t see the answer here, please reach out.

Separation and Divorce impact every area of your life.  This is a highly emotional time for most people.  You may find yourself unable to focus on critically important issues for your future, at a time that you are feeling raw and unable to concentrate. Debbie Shawn, founder of Divorce Matters, is a Registered Social Worker who understands the impact of Separation and Divorce on you.  


Divorce Matters provides a unique Divorce preparation system to help you regain control of your life.  Debbie will help you identify, organize and present your issues and necessary documentation to your Divorce team in a clear, matter-of-fact manner designed to cut costs, alleviate stress and expedite a successful Divorce settlement.

Separation and Divorce is a very stressful time.  You need a system to help you highlight the issues that are important to you, to keep track of what your Divorce team needs from you, and to meet whatever deadlines you may have.  A Divorce Organizer will help you focus on all of this and more.


Separation and Divorce involves a lot of paperwork. Debbie Shawn, founder of Divorce Matters has created Checklists and Information Modules which will be useful tools for clients who do not know where to begin. Divorce Matters will also help clients learn new skills that will be invaluable both during this process and moving forward in their new life situations. Debbie knows that the more organized you are, the faster you can locate the necessary information, the easier you will make it for your Divorce team.


And the added benefit – you and your Divorce team will not be wasting time searching through drawers and shoe boxes or multiple digital files to find the documents you need. Remember, not wasting time equals saving money.

Financial disclosure is required as part of any Separation Agreement in Ontario and most other provinces.  Completing these forms (Ontario Form 13.1 or 13) is one of first things you will be asked to do, and it causes great difficulty for many people because financial disclosure forms are complicated.  Doing it right will help your Divorce team provide you with the advice you need about child support, spousal support, and property issues.  

At a time that people are already feeling vulnerable and emotionally depleted by the breakdown of their marriage, they are expected to “miraculously” learn about assets, liabilities, investments, debts, budgets, etc. Working with Debbie Shawn and Divorce Matters will give you the tools to locate and organize your financial documents and complete these forms.   This information allows your Divorce team to work efficiently and effectively on your behalf, negotiating the best possible settlement for you. 


Your and your partner will both have to complete this set of forms. If you are entering into a Mediation process, and would like to do this collaboratively, Debbie can work with both of you together to get your financial disclosure forms completed.

There is no simple answer to this question.  Some people will immediately meet with a Family Law Lawyer to get legal advice about how best to proceed and will then contact Divorce Matters for assistance in getting organized, and working on their financial disclosure.  Others prefer to first meet with Debbie Shawn and Divorce Matters for a better understanding of the Separation and Divorce process and the different options available.  If you choose to meet with Divorce Matters as a first step, Debbie can also assist you with referrals to appropriate professionals to best meet your individual needs and situation.  Debbie can also help you work on your Financial Disclosure Forms so that when you first meet with a Lawyer, they will have a more accurate picture of your financial situation.

Debbie Shawn is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, and all invoices have her registration number on them. Clients who have extended health benefits for Social Work services may be able to be reimbursed for Divorce Matters services. Debbie suggests that you check with your provider to see if you have coverage for Social Work services.

Regardless of whether you and your partner are ending your relationship amicably or you are in a high – conflict situation, Debbie Shawn and Divorce Matters can assist you.  Each and every process requires financial disclosure and as discussed above, Debbie can help you with this.  She can also work with you to ensure you are as prepared as possible for any negotiation you enter into and have thought about your priorities and what areas you are prepared to compromise on.  

Clients trying to dissolve their marriages amicably may want to work on their financial disclosure jointly with Debbie as well as getting referrals to appropriate mediators or collaborative family lawyers. 

Many clients experiencing high conflict divorces find it helpful to have Debbie as an active member of their Legal Team, participating in meetings with their lawyer and attending settlement and/or mediation negotiations with them.

Debbie Shawn attends ongoing education seminars, webinars and reading all as part of insuring that she is as up to date as possible on issues that impact clients contemplating, or in the midst of, Separation and Divorce.

Divorce Matters does not offer the type of services that a financial planner or investment advisor has the training and expertise to do.  Clients are frequently referred to professionals who can assist with this.

Debbie Shawn is a Registered Social Worker so her practice is governed by the OCSWSSW (Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers) which has strict rules about confidentiality.  All communication with every client is completely confidential and written permission must be given by the client to share any information.

Divorce Matters does not offer Legal or Parenting Co-ordination services.  Debbie works with clients to assist them in understanding the options available to them, and helping to prepare and document the issues that are important to them in child custody and parenting arrangements.  Being organized helps insure that concerns that are critical to clients don’t get forgotten. Separation and Divorce are highly stressful and Debbie has developed systems to assist people with keeping track of their questions/concerns far better than using bits of paper and scattering notes in a thousand places!

Each province in Canada has their own College of Social Workers or similar regulatory body. Debbie Shawn is a Registered Social Worker in Ontario, so is not licensed to work in other provinces.

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