How to start the process of getting a divorce
There is a lot of advice out there on how to go about the divorce process in Calgary. Perhaps you have a friend who recently went through the process and are using them as a source of information to prepare for your own divorce. Our Calgary divorce lawyers strongly urge those considering divorce to speak with a Calgary lawyer to obtain independent legal advice that is specific to your unique situation. The legal processes and strategies used in your friend’s divorce may be very different than what a lawyer recommends for you and your family. However, with that said, there are some specific procedures that must be followed for all divorce proceedings.
Grounds For Divorce
In order to be legally divorced in Alberta, you need to meet certain requirements. First, you or your spouse must have been an ordinary resident in Alberta for at least one year. Second, in order to obtain a divorce, you must meet one of the following grounds: 1) be separated for one year; 2) either partner committed adultery; and 3) either partner performed some sort of mental or physical cruelty on the other partner. The most common ground for divorce is a one-year separation, as either ground must be proven. Thus, in order to seek a divorce on the basis of adultery or mental or physical cruelty, the party must prove that it actually happened, usually by the partner who committed the adultery or physical cruelty swears to it in an affidavit.
Commence Court Proceedings
To begin the process of getting a divorce, parties will often file a Statement of Claim, which will set forth the grounds upon which the divorce will be based and will also seek relief. Such relief includes spousal support, child support, parenting, and division of matrimonial property – to name a few. While the divorce process is different for all parties, most will then engage in the process of disclosure, which provides that each party will provide to the other party their financial information. A large part of the divorce process is gathering financial information about each party, to ensure that the divorce process is fair. Under the Matrimonial Property Act, all matrimonial property received during the marriage is presumed to be split 50/50 between the parties. Certain exceptions apply, including property that was inherited or gifts from third parties. The disclosure process is meant to provide an overall picture of the real and personal property of the parties, which will be divided pursuant to law. The disclosure process also helps with issues involving child support and spousal support.
Reaching A Resolution and Settlement
Depending on your situation, some parties may work together to settle the outstanding matters through alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation or arbitration, or other parties may settle the matters through the court process. The benefit to alternative dispute resolutions is that you often have more control over the outcome of your matter as mediation is voluntary and you and your partner can make various proposal to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If you do go through the Court process, you are stuck with the decision of the Justice or Judge who may not rule in your favour. The length of time and methods used to each resolution and ultimately finalize a divorce vary based upon the different issues and choices the parties make.