DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
Transitions in our lives are inevitable; however, divorce is a often an unexpected scenario. Experiences with divorce and separation are heavy with a variety of emotions which adds to the difficulty of moving forward in the process. Divorces and separations can be an immensely stressful and challenging transition. To further complicate matters, the division of finances compounds onto the already-difficult scenario.
It is important to retain the services of a professional with whom you can trust and rely on. Our mandate is to ensure our practice remains client-focused—keeping our client’s needs at the forefront of any actionable plans
DIVISION OF MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY
There is an erroneous assumption in Alberta that matrimonial property will be equally divided between the parties upon separation or divorce. In reality, dividing the property is not a simple process, particularly where there any many assets and debts that have accumulated throughout the marriage. Defining ‘matrimonial property’ can be ambiguous but legal assistance can help identify what property is to be divided. Our assistance extends to legislation that governs the division of matrimonial property, and how it applies to you. Claiming matrimonial property under the legislation is a crucially time-sensitive, so it is imperative that you receive legal advice on your rights, liabilities and time constraints as early as possible.
CUSTODY, ACCESS AND PARENTING
More complications arise where there are children in a relationship due to separate. There are many life-changing decisions to act on—such as where the children will live, who will make the major decisions for the child and what parenting arrangements are necessary to accommodate the child’s needs. We understand that no two cases are the same. We can answer all your questions on the different types of custody arrangements and work with you to develop a parenting agreement that will accommodate your family’s needs. We will help you understand the law, no matter what your circumstances.
We will educate you with the different resources that will undoubtedly assist parents in helping to make these difficult decisions regarding custody, access and parenting—all of which will minimise conflict between parties.
COHABITATION, PRENUPTUAL AND POST-NUPTUAL AGREEMENTS
In Alberta, parties can enter into a contract or agreement before they start living together or before getting married. This is ideally engaged in an effort to settle matters pertaining to property division, support and other rights in the event that the partnership is no longer sustainable. In order to ensure these agreements are fair, legal and binding, you must see a lawyer for independent legal advice.
After separation or divorce, it is not uncommon for one parent to wish to relocate for personal- or work-related reasons. Where there are children, the issue of mobility likely becomes a concern. Both parents need to consent to the relocation of a child in a joint custodial situation. If parents cannot reach an agreement on the relocation of the child with the primary caregiver, legal assistance can remediate this situation. We have experience with representing provincial, federal and international mobility arguments and can assist you in negotiation, mediation or court-ordered resolutions.
During the separation of a relationship, a grandparents’ relationship with his or her grandchild(ren) can sometimes be marginalized. Are you a grandparent but do not have access to your grandchild or grandchildren? Are you concerned about the well-being or safety or your grandchild(ren)? No matter what concerns you may have, we are able to advise you with your rights as a grandparent under the Alberta legislative framework..
EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDERS AND RESTRAINING ORDERS
If you have a concern for your safety or need protection from someone who you suspect is a threat, we can get you the protection you need. An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) is designed to protect individuals against immediate violence from family members. This type of order can last up to one year. A restraining order can protect you from individuals who you suspect have made a threat to your personal safety and will be reviewed by a Court approximately two weeks after it is provided. Should any threat persists, restraining orders can be extended for a year with annual reviews, and in rare circumstances can be indefinite. Getting legal assistance can ensure you address all of your concerns so you can get the protection you need.
Child support is not optional. Parents have an obligation to support their children while they are under the age of majority, when they separate from the other parent—whether they were married or not. Support is determined in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which takes into account: income of the paying parent and where that parent resides; and number of children. Parents can also be obligated to pay additional support for the child(ren) which can include costs for daycare and other extraordinary expenses. Parents may also be obligated to pay support for children who are over the age of majority if they are continuing their education or if they are unable to support themselves by reason of illness or disability. We can help you understand the rules and tables that make up the guidelines to ensure you are paying or receiving the appropriate amount of support for your children. We can also advise you on what to do if you are not receiving support. We provide direction on how to enforce child support court orders and assistance to ensure that child support is calculated and adjusted when income of the payor changes.
SPOUSAL OR PARTNER SUPPORT
There is no automatic entitlement to spousal or partner support as a product of divorce or separation. An agreement can either be made between parties or a Court can decide firstly, if there is entitlement to support and secondly, how much support you might receive and for how long you will receive it. There any many factors that must be addressed in order to establish entitlement to support. There are also many variables that affect the amount and duration of support. We can help you understand this ambiguous and difficult area of law that has been established though legislative recognition and case law precedent.
There are spousal Support advisory guidelines which have been introduced to help us determine amount and duration. These guidelines serve as a reference point to assist individuals in determining an appropriate range of support, but they are not mandatory calculations under the law. We strongly recommend that you receive legal advice before you agree to pay or receive any amount of support.
If you are seeking to officially adopt a child who has been in your care, a step-child or a child for whom you were loco parentis, we can assist you in understanding the court process. There is pertinent information required and crucial timelines for processing an application for adoption.
DIVISION OF COMMON LAW PROPERTY
When unmarried individuals separate, property division can be much different than if you were married. It is important to seek legal advice to understand your rights as an unmarried person separating from a partner in a common law relationship.