FAQ

Guardianship falls under the Family Law Act and refers to all of the decision making and responsibilities relating to the upbringing of a child. If the guardians cannot agree on how to make decisions about the child, a guardian should consult with a lawyer to determine their legal options.

In a divorce, custody refers to decision-making about a child. Parenting refers to time spent with the child.

Day-to-day care refers to a parenting arrangement in which the child primarily resides with one parent. Access refers to specified parenting arrangement with the parent who does not have day-to-day care.

Sole custody refers to one parent’s ability to make all of the major decisions about the child. Although the parents may consult with one another, the custodial parent makes the final decision.

Joint custody refers to both parent’s ability to make all major decisions about the children.

Shared custody is when the child resides approximately half time with each parent. The Federal Child Support Guidelines defines shared custody as the child living more than 40% of the time with each parent.

Split custody is when there are two or more children, and one or more of the children live primarily with one parent and one or more of the children live primarily with the other parent.

A child’s input, though not the determining factor, may be taken into consideration when deciding where the child should reside. Often this will depend on the age of the child and their maturity. Ultimately, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the child.

Unless you have a court Order or a notarized letter authorizing you to travel with the Children, you will require the consent of the other parent in order to travel internationally.
Domestic travel with the children can be addressed in a Court Order as well.

Yes. There is an ongoing obligation to pay child support irrespective of whether or not you see your children. If you are not seeing your children and would like to, our lawyers can assist you in this regard.

Child support is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Base child support is based on your annual gross income and the number of children. You may also be responsible for any special or extraordinary expenses incurred for the children.

You may be responsible for child support even if you are not the biological parent, if you have assumed the role of a parent for the child.

A child over the age of 18 may still be entitled to child support if he or she continues to be a dependent by reason of illness, disability or other cause.

If a parent cannot afford child support, they can apply to reduce their child support payments. In exceptional circumstances, the courts may permit a parent temporary relief from paying child support.

There may be circumstances in which you may have an obligation to each other to pay spousal support. The amount and duration of spousal support will vary depending on the income of each party, the duration of the relationship, and whether or not there are dependent children to consider. You should talk to a lawyer to see if you would be entitled, and if so, how much your spouse / partner may be ordered to pay.

Yes. As long as one of the party has been residing in Alberta for a period of at least 1 year.

There are 3 grounds to file a claim for divorce in Canada. Those are (1) one year separation; (2) adultery (by the other party); and (3) mental or physical cruelty (by the other party).

Yes, you can be separated from your spouse and live in the same residence. You will have to demonstrate that you are truly separated from your spouse by showing that you and your spouse lived separate lives and conducted your affairs separately.

If the divorce is uncontested, a divorce will usually take approximately 6 to 8 months. This is often dependent on the Court.

If you and your former spouse cannot agree on custody, access (parenting) or support, then the divorce becomes contested, and can take much longer.

Yes. There are fees associated with filing of certain court documents such as a Statement of Claim for Divorce or other Family Law Applications.

If you meet the required grounds, you may be able to ask the court to change the terms of a court Order. Our lawyers are here to assist you with this process.

Mediation is a form or alternative dispute resolution. It is a voluntary process whereby two or more parties attend a meeting in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. The parties meet with a mediator who must be neutral and whose purpose is to facilitate the discussion and assist the parties come to a resolution. The mediator does not have the authority to make binding decisions.

Generally, if both parties attend mediation in good faith and with the intention of resolving their issues, there are many benefits to mediation:
Less time consuming;
More cost effective;
Decision is reached by the parties themselves as opposed to a third party;
Confidential; and
Not bound by the rules of court and more flexible.

Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution whereby two or more parties attend a meeting in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If the parties are not able to reach a resolution, the arbitrator may make a decision on one or more of the issues. This decision is binding and may be entered as a Court Order.

Yes. Generally, it is beneficial for a party to attend mediation or arbitration with a lawyer as they will be available to apply the law to the legal issues that arise and provide advice about the parties’ respective legal rights and obligations.

JDR is another form of alternative dispute resolution whereby two or more parties attend a meeting with a judge to reach a settlement of the legal issues. A JDR may be non-binding in which case the judge does not have the authority to make a binding decision. If a settlement is reached between the parties, the judge is able to grant an order that makes the decision legal. In Provincial Court, a non-binding JDR is a requirement in most family law matters.

A JDR may be binding in which case the judge may encourage settlement but in the absence of which has the authority to make a biding decision.

There are many reasons you should retain a lawyer for the purchase of your home. A lawyer will properly review the title to the property to check it for restrictions on title, such as easements, restrictive covenants, and encumbrances such as mortgages, builder’s liens, and other items. If there are any caveats on the title, you will want to ensure that your interests are protected.

Once the purchase contract has been signed and all the conditions have been waived, you should contact a real estate lawyer to discuss the remaining of the legal process prior to taking possession of your home.

A personal directive is a legal document that allows you to name a person (agent) to make personal decisions (not financial) on your behalf in the event that you lose mental capacity. It will specify the areas in which your agent will have decision-making authority, such as where you live, who looks after your children, health care and what activities you will partake in.

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to name a person (attorney) to make financial decisions (not personal) on your behalf. Depending on your situation, you can have the power of attorney effective immediately upon signing. Or alternatively, effective upon the occurrence of an event (i.e. losing mental capacity).

A Will is a legal document that provides instructions on how your estate is to distributed after your death. It allows you to appoint an executor or personal representative or a trustee who is authorized take on the role of ensuring that your debts are paid and that your estate is distributed according to your final wishes. A Will can also designate guardians for minor children and specify how your dependents can be taken care of in the event of your death.

If you die without a Will, your estate will be divided according to what are called the “intestacy rules” under the Wills and Succession Act. To die “intestate” means to die without a Will. The intestacy rules set out a hierarchy for the distribution of your estate depending on your family situation at your death.

 

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