Divorce is the final end to a marriage between two spouses who are legally married to each other. For many couples, it can be a deeply emotional time full of uncertainty and doubt. Spouses often seek answers to questions concerning their rights and obligations such as:
- What is a legal separation?
- How much will a Divorce cost me?
- Where will I live once we separate?
- Who will the children stay with and what kind of a relationship will I have with them?
- How will I support myself and what type of an obligation will I have to support my former spouse?
- How much child support will I have to pay?
- How will our property be divided?
Difficult decisions need to be made. A lawyer specializing in divorce can help you assess your individual situation, generate options, help you consider both legal and non-legal consequences of your decisions and advocate on your behalf by negotiating, mediating, arbitrating or litigating as needed.
In Canada divorce is governed by the provisions of the Divorce Act (the “Act”). The Act defines the rights and obligations of spouses in relation to custody and access to children, child support and spousal support. The division of matrimonial property is governed by laws enacted by each province which differ. In Alberta, such division is governed by the Matrimonial Property Act.
To begin a Divorce in Alberta, at least one of the spouses must be ordinarily resident in the province for one year immediately before the commencement of legal proceedings.
In Alberta the Court of Queen’s Bench may make decisions on issues outlined in the Divorce Act and finalize a divorce on the ground that there has been a breakdown of the marriage which may be established only if:
- The spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceeding and were living separate and apart at the commencement of the proceeding; or
- The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has since celebration of the marriage has committed adultery, or
- The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has, since celebration of the marriage treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses.
Same-Sex couples may seek a Divorce under the Civil Marriage Act.
In Alberta, a Divorce can be started by filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce. A claim for Matrimonial Property and a constructive trust claim may also accompany a claim for Divorce when appropriate. Spouses need not be separated for a period of one year to begin a Divorce.
A Statement of Claim under the Divorce Act tells the Court what the spouse filing for Divorce seeks in relation to:
- Decision making about the children;
- The children’s residence;
- Time with the children;
- Support of the children;
- Support for the spouses.
A Defendant may respond and indicate what they agree with and what they don’t and why by filing a Statement of Defence. A Defendant may also file a Counterclaim outlining what they want.
A divorce can be Contested or Uncontested. An Uncontested Divorce is one where the parties have reached an agreement on the issues or where no issues between the parties exist and the Claim goes undefended.
A Divorce Judgment dissolving the marriage becomes final 30 days after it has been signed by the parties.
In addition to the issues outlined above there are many issues which may arise in commencing or completing a Divorce including but not limited to:
- Whether or not spouses are legally married.
- Questions about the Ordinary Residence of the spouses.
- Whether or not the spouses were living separate and apart for the requisite period of time.
- Questions whether a party would suffer prejudice if the Divorce were to be severed from the Corollary Relief.
- Whether a divorce can be expedited.
The legal team at Igras Family Law has successfully handled many Divorce files. Please contact us for a consultation today.
Calgary Family Lawyers & Mediators
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