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How To Legally Separate in Alberta

If You Choose To Separate, Make Sure It’s Legal

The breakdown of a marriage is often overwhelming and emotionally draining for those involved. The divorce process itself is different for all parties. Depending on the situation, some couples work together to settle the outstanding matters through alternative dispute resolution such as a settlement meeting, mediation or negotiation, while other parties resolve matters through the court process. The length of time and methods used to reach resolution and ultimately legally separate vary based upon the different issues and choices the parties make.

How To Start Divorce Proceedings

Regardless of how your divorce matters are resolved, only a justice at the Court of Queen’s Bench has the ability to grant a divorce. As such, a Statement of Claim must be filed to initiate an action and to seek a divorce. A Statement of Claim can be filed by one party alone or can be filed by the parties jointly. A Statement of Claim is the court pleading that is filed to initiate your action with the court. It sets forth the grounds upon which the divorce is sought and also outlines the relief sought. A Statement of Claim for Divorce allows a party to seek any relief that falls under the Divorce Act, being a divorce, custody, access, child support and spousal support but can also be combined with a claim under the Matrimonial Property Act and/or a claim in equity, which is typically used to gain an interest in property during a period of time when a couple cohabited but was not married.

Criteria For A Legal Divorce In Alberta

In order to legally separate 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 establish the breakdown of your marriage in one of the following ways: 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 way to establish the marriage breakdown is a one-year separation, since any 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. This usually occurs when the partner who committed the adultery or cruelty admits to doing so in an affidavit otherwise, it would be done at trial, which is generally avoided due to cost and timing.

Consider Your Options For Dispute Resolution

It is important to take the time to consider all of your options for divorce and select the process that will best suit your unique situation. If you would like to learn more about your options for divorce in Alberta including dispute resolution options, please connect with us to set up an initial consultation. At Jones Divorce Mediation we know that this is your life and you are the one that has to live with the results of your file. While the major decisions should be yours to make, we will give you our professional opinion along with the reasons behind them. We want to help you make the best decisions for you and your family while delivering efficient, cost effective resolutions to your legal issues.


Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.