Divorce Lawyers in Calgary, AB, Guiding You Through Tough Times
You have probably seen the dramatic court proceedings on television and in movies, where aggressive divorce lawyers turn civil litigation into knock-down, drag-out fights between two sides over child support, spousal support, and property division. The dramatics make for exciting television.
However, for every separation agreement that turns into a metaphorical boxing match, there are several hundred more instances where an uncontested divorce proceeding (or often even a contested divorce process) goes smoothly. This can usually be credited in no small part to competent divorce lawyers with a history in family law issues wanting as strongly as their clients for the divorce process to go smoothly.
Whether through contested divorces, an uncontested divorce, or any dissolution of a marriage certificate, each divorcing partner will want the independent legal advice of a divorce lawyer with a history in family law to represent their side to ease the pain of separation agreements.
How Can a Divorce Lawyer Help in an Uncontested Divorce?
Experienced divorce lawyers who are versed in matrimonial property division, amongst other aspects of family law, will tell you that regardless of the type of separation agreement: uncontested divorce, contested divorce, legal separation, or annulments; the process can be complex emotionally, even before adding the legal elements. This is why legal aid from family and divorce lawyers is necessary.
Division of marital assets, from property to liquid assets, will be a large part of the separation process. Even with an uncontested divorce, this process can become a headache. The discussion of possible child support, spousal support, or any discussion of assets to be given from one spouse to another after the marriage certificate is no longer valid can get heated. An experienced divorce lawyer, or more accurately, a relationship between each spouse’s lawyers who are trained professionals in the court of family law, can ensure that an uncontested divorce agreement does not end in dispute between those actively involved.
What Are My Options to End My Marriage?
Family law and divorce law assume that when each marriage ends, it can end in an uncontested divorce. A marriage certificate is essentially a legal contract between spouses. When the two are no longer willing to continue to honor the terms of that document, legal professionals will have no issue dissolving the marriage breakdown without dispute.
There are multiple ways that an uncontested divorce can end smoothly:
- Dissolution of Marriage (A.K.A. Divorce):
- Dissolution of marriage, more commonly known as divorce, is the most common type of marriage separation.
- During the dissolution, marital assets are divided, custody of children is decided, and requirements of any existing prenuptial agreement are fulfilled.
- After the divorce procedure, all legal bonds between formerly married couples (except for any that may arise during the divorce procedure) are dissolved. Therefore, each ex-spouse is allowed to form a new marriage agreement, uncontested, with any future spouses.
- One spouse may be required to pay spousal support to the other
- If one parent is granted custody of a shared child or children, the judge may order the other ex-spouse to pay child support.
- Legal Separation:
- A legal separation period or permanent legal separation is a case within family law where two married individuals begin living in separate locations, typically not having much contact.
- A marriage or legal partnership is not ended during this separation period. This means that:
- Neither spouse may form a new marriage contract with another person
- A judge may determine custody for any shared children, and the non-custodial parent may be required to pay child support
- If the separation is financially more difficult for one partner, a judge may order the spouse to pay spousal support to the less advantaged party.
- Neither couple may ask the court to order any debt, ownership, custody, or support to be divided.
- Though it is not a divorce procedure, it is still recommended to seek the counsel and legal representation of a family lawyer with a background in family and divorce law to cover the entire spectrum of family law.
- An annulment or nullity happens when divorcing couples are proven in provincial court to have had an illegal marriage in the first place.
- Some grounds for annulment are:
- Non-consummation; the inability to consummate a marriage, is considered by the Canadian courts to be valid grounds for divorce or annulment
- marriage without consent; If it is proven in provincial court that the marriage was fraudulent because one partner did not consent (either through mistaken identity, negative consent, or mistake to the nature of the attended ceremony) to the marriage
- marriage for immigration purposes; if the motive for marriage is clearly to affect the immigrant status of one of the parties, the marriage is considered fraudulent and can be annulled
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Alberta?
Uncontested divorces are generally considered the most common type of separation that a divorce lawyer may see. This makes sense, as when one spouse is ready for divorce, the other generally follows suit. If the issues of custody of shared children, parenting access, and spousal support and/or child support have been discussed, and both parties have agreed, then an uncontested divorce can be settled.
However, while not every law firm can deliver the dramatics of an episode of serialized television, indeed, uncontested divorces are not the only form of marriage separation family, and divorce law proceedings see. Before seeking a divorce lawyer, you should understand what qualifies as legal grounds for contested divorces in Alberta:
- most common grounds for divorce
- must live separately and apart for at least one year
- reasoning does not matter
- it is possible to be considered separated while living under the same roof if the two are living individual lives
- cooking and eating separately
- sleeping in separate rooms
- not attending social events together
- the couple may bring an action for divorce as soon as they are separated, but the divorce will not be finalized until a period of one year of separation has been completed
- except under exceptional circumstances, all issues relating to custody and support of children must be dealt with before the court grants a divorce
- child support
- joint custody
- sole custody
- may be settled by either agreement or trial
- One spouse has sex with another person while still under the marriage contract
- The applicant for divorce cannot have condoned the affair; for example:
- in the context of an open marriage
- while the applicant was present and consenting
- must provide evidence to support the claim of adultery
- the spouse who committed adultery can admit to doing so by signing an affidavit
- the spouse who had an affair cannot be the one to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery
- couples may not jointly apply for divorce on the grounds of adultery
- defined as when one spouse inflicts mental or physical cruelty or abuse on the other one to the point where they are no longer able to live together
- may include, but is not limited to;
- constant verbal abuse
- excessive drug use
- only one instance of cruelty has to be proven to justify grounds for separation
- incompatible personalities or occasional unkindness does not amount to cruelty to the extent that divorce would be considered grounded
- constant name-calling or other forms of verbal abuse may be considered cruelty
- unless a spouse admits to cruelty, or you have been separated due to the cruelty for a while longer than one year, you will have to prove the cruelty in a trial.
What Are the Steps to Filing for Divorce?
Before seeking a divorce lawyer, you want to understand the steps to filing for divorce. Also, before permanently dissolving your marriage contract, it is strongly recommended that you contact a divorce lawyer for legal advice to help you understand what rights you have during the proceedings.
If you have children you either share with the person you want to divorce or who has lived with the other person for a long time, you will want to prepare them for a sudden drastic change in their family unit.
During the timeline of a typical divorce process, the steps should follow a similar timeline as the following:
- A divorce and family law lawyer for the spouse who wants is initiating the divorce will file a petition or a statement of complaint. In it, the grounds for divorce will be laid out clearly. In this statement or petition, the filing party will lay out how they wish to settle any issues including, but not limited to;
- calculating spousal support
- child support
- sole or joint custody of children
- division of property
- how civil litigation should be handled
- The petition or statement of complaint papers is served to the marriage partner, along with a summons to court requiring a response with a time limit.
- The served spouse will agree or disagree with the terms in the petition. If the court does not receive a response from the served spouse, they will assume that both spouses agree.
- Each party or parties’ lawyers exchange financial information alongside documentation about property or income. After such, the court decides terms between spouses, such as alimony, child support, and property division, should any disagreements arise.
- Arbitration and mediation occur, followed by a settlement.
- Suppose the judge agrees with what the lawyers provide after arbitration if the lawyers present an agreement between the spouses. If not, the case goes to a trial.
- Suppose there is a trial, and the lawyers representing each present side arguments for their client’s side of the disagreement. As in any court proceeding, the lawyers will provide evidence and justification for their side.
- After hearing the lawyers’ arguments, the judge decides on the contested issues, and a divorce is granted.
- If either spouse disagrees with the judge’s decision, they can appeal to a higher court.
Whether you’ve just begun considering divorce or have a fully completed plan laid out as to how you wish for the proceedings to go, it is never too early or late to contact a collaborative law firm and speak with an experienced divorce lawyer regarding your case.
If you are ready to make that call, reach out and make an appointment for an initial consultation with a lawyer at Getz Collins and Associates by calling 403-934-2500 today.