A divorce or separation can be stressful and overwhelming. Divorces can also be different depending on your specific situation. Some have no children and both just want a simple separation from one another, for others, there are children and the parties can agree on how to divide responsibilities for the children after separation, and for others, they may have serious disagreements about what the terms of the separation and have to litigate it in Court. Whichever situation you may be dealing with, we are ready to help you to resolve your situation and be ready to move on with your life.
To Get a Divorce in Alberta, You Have to Meet One of the Three Criteria Listed Below:
- At the time the divorce is granted, you will have been separated for at least one year;
- One spouse committed adultery; or
- One spouse was mentally or physically cruel/ abusive to the other.
One of the spouses has to also be an ordinarily resident of Alberta for at least one year.
How to Start a Divorce or Separation in Alberta
To start a divorce, one party needs to begin by filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. The person that starts this process is called the Plaintiff, the other party will be called the Defendant. After filing the Statement of Claim for Divorce, the next step is to have someone personally deliver a copy of the filed Statement of Claim for Divorce to your spouse, this is called service upon your spouse. At that point, the spouse who is served has two options. The first option is to file a Statement of Defence and Counterclaim, meaning that they want to dispute what is being asked for in the Statement of Claim, or they can file a Demand for Notice, which means that they only want to be provided with copies of further documents filed with the Court, including the Divorce judgment.
The usual issues that need to be resolved in a divorce or separation are the following:
- Parenting of the children;
- Decision making responsibility for the children;
- Child support for the children;
- Spousal support if applicable; and
- Division of property if applicable.
Once the above issues are dealt with, then either party can apply to finalize the divorce and have the divorce judgment granted. To do this, you have to file a desk divorce application which includes an Affidavit of Applicant, a Request for Divorce, a proposed Divorce Judgement, and a Noting in Default, if the other party did not respond to the original claim for Divorce. The package will then be reviewed by a and the Divorce Judgement will be signed by a Justice. Then you have to wait 31 days before you can apply for your Certificate of Divorce to be done with the file.
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Why would you get a legal separation instead of a divorce?
In most instances it is better to finalize a divorce rather than to just start living separate from your spouse. Without an official Divorce, you would not be able to marry again and you might still have financial obligations stemming from your connection with your estranged spouse.
What should you not do during a separation?
When you are separated but not yet divorced, you may start seeing other people but keep in mind that you cannot officially marry anyone else until you obtain your divorce first. Marrying more than one person at once in Canada has serious criminal consequences.
Does a husband have to support his wife during separation?
The need to support your former partner does not stem from whether you are a husband or a wife, instead, it depends on the financial standing of the parties. If you make substantially more money than your spouse and you have been married for an extended period of time, then your separating spouse could have a strong claim against you for spousal support.