Whether your divorce is complicated – involving issues of support and parenting – or simple, the process is complex. Many documents must be filed to complete even the most straightforward divorce and procedural rules must be followed. It can be a very time-consuming and frustrating project for a non-lawyer to complete.
What is a Divorce?
A divorce is the legal process which terminates a marriage. To apply for a divorce in Alberta, one spouse must have resided in Alberta for a year. Divorces in Canada are governed by the Divorce Act, which outlines the laws regarding divorce, the laws related to child support, custody and access for children of the marriage and the laws related to spousal support for married spouses.
The spouse applying for a divorce begins by filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. The filed Statement of Claim must be then be served upon the other spouse.
If the party filing for divorce wishes to make any claims regarding child support, spousal support, custody and/or access, they should be listed in the Statement of Claim for Divorce. A party who is served with a Statement of Claim for Divorce may respond by filing a Statement of Defence and/or Counterclaim seeking child support, spousal support, custody and/or access. There are time limits for filing these documents.
When is a Divorce Finalized?
The parties are not divorced until a Divorce Judgment has been granted by a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. The Divorce Act states that the Court must ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the payment of child support before a Divorce Judgment may be granted. A Divorce Judgment does not finalize the division of matrimonial property.
We recommend that, at a minimum, anyone seeking a divorce should have an initial consultation with a lawyer to receive a legal opinion regarding their possible rights and obligations.
For more information on preparing for a divorce, please refer to our article, 10 Tips to Prepare for Your Divorce.