Calgary & Strathmore Divorce Lawyers

The end of a relationship is challenging to manage even before you get into the legal aspects. The property must be divided, including homes and bank accounts, and many other forms of business between the two will have to be sorted before the process can end.

Having a skilled divorce lawyer ensures you understand your rights so your divorce can proceed as smoothly and calmly as possible. Getz Collins and Associates understands the emotional and financial stressors of separation and divorce and offers top-tier comprehensive or unbundled family law services after a relationship breaks down.

Grounds for Divorce in Alberta

Under the Divorce Act (the law governing the divorce of married couples across Canada), there are three grounds for divorce: separation, adultery, and cruelty. Only after a court formally grants the divorce can the parties re-marry new partners if they choose to do so.

Separation – Living “Separate and Apart”

Most divorces proceed via separation, which requires the couple to live separate and apart for one year.

Living “separate and apart” does not necessarily require the couple to reside in separate homes. Instead, a series of factors are considered to determine whether the spouses live independently. For example, if they continue to live under the same roof, they may cook and eat separately, sleep in separate rooms, and cease attending social events together.


In very limited circumstances, a couple can bypass the one-year “separate and apart” requirement by proving that one spouse committed an act of infidelity without the consent of the other spouse. Only the spouse who did not commit adultery can seek a divorce on this ground.


Adultery and cruelty are very rarely used as grounds for divorce, given that they involve allegations that can worsen conflict between the parties and are challenging to prove. To be a valid ground for divorce, the cruelty must be so severe that it creates unendurable trauma for the victim spouse’s mental or physical well-being.

Divorce vs. Annulment

Although uncommon, some marriages are dissolved via an annulment instead of a divorce. An annulment is only available in cases where it can be proven that the couple’s marriage was illegal from the outset, such as in cases where one or both spouses:

  • Lacked the mental capacity to get married or the ability to legally consent;
  • Are too closely related to each other by blood or adoption;
  • Were already married to someone else; or
  • Entered into the marriage for fraudulent purposes, such as to defraud immigration authorities.

Steps in the Divorce Process in Alberta

While the length and process of each divorce will vary based on each couple’s circumstances, the steps that are common to most divorces are as follows:

  1. A spouse files a Statement of Claim for Divorce, laying out the grounds for divorce. The claim is served on the other spouse and sets out how the filing spouse wishes to settle any issues, including (but not limited to):
  2. The responding spouse will agree or disagree with the terms in the Statement of Claim. If the court does not receive a response from the served spouse, they will assume both spouses agree.
  3. The spouses exchange financial information alongside documentation about property or income.
  4. The spouses decide (or have the court decide) outstanding issues, such as support, property division, and parenting arrangements. The spouses must attempt to resolve any issues using an alternative dispute resolution process (such as mediation or arbitration) before resorting to litigation in court.
  5. Once the outstanding issues between the parties are resolved (or the court decides a divorce order can be granted pending resolution), the court may grant the divorce. The divorce order officially dissolves the marriage.

Getz Collins and Associates: Providing Innovative Divorce Solutions in Calgary & Strathmore

The knowledgeable family and divorce lawyers of Getz Collins and Associates provide flexible, tailored legal solutions to fit every client’s unique circumstances. We help spouses navigate their rights and obligations throughout the separation and divorce process, offering as much or as little support as needed.

Getz Collins and Associates has accessible locations in Calgary and Strathmore and proudly represents clients across Alberta, including Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks, Drumheller, Chestermere, Hussar, and all surrounding areas. To schedule a confidential consultation on your family law matter, please contact us at 587-391-5600 or reach out online.