Working with our divorce lawyers
When it comes to navigating the complex world of divorce, you need a team of experienced professionals who can provide you with the guidance and support you need. At Jones Divorce and Family Law, we understand the emotional and legal challenges that come with the dissolution of a marriage, and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.
One of the key benefits of working with Jones’ divorce lawyers is our personalized approach to each case. We recognize that every divorce is unique, and we take the time to understand your specific needs and goals. With over 65 years of combined law experience, we will advocate fiercely on your behalf to secure fair division of assets, parenting arrangements, and spousal support, ensuring that your best interests are always at the forefront.
The divorce procedure in Calgary
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 their outstanding matters through alternative dispute resolutions.
Parties may also choose to resolve matters by formal litigation, which involves filing pleadings and going through the Court process. The length of time and methods used to finalize a divorce vary based on the unique situation of the parties and the choices they make along the way.
Steps to filing for divorce
In most cases, after a 12-month separation period, you become eligible to submit the desk divorce package. Our team of experienced lawyers will guide you through the necessary steps and work diligently to streamline the process. Typically, an uncontested divorce in Calgary can be finalized within a timeframe of three to six months however, couples must wait 12 months from the date of separation to submit their divorce documents, unless they are seeking a divorce using the grounds of adultery or cruelty.
It is important to note that the duration of the divorce process can vary significantly if there are disputes involved. In complex divorces, it is not uncommon for the process to last many months or even years, depending on the specific circumstances and the level of conflict.
Assuming that your divorce is uncontested, meaning you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all major issues, the following steps typically occur with the assistance of a divorce lawyer:
- Preparation, filing, and serving of the Statement of Claim for Divorce – Your lawyer will prepare the necessary legal documents, file them at the local Calgary courthouse, and ensure that they are properly served to your spouse. You can file the Statement of Claim anytime during the one year separation period, or after.
- Await the response – In Alberta, the responding party is given 20 days to respond to the filed documents. Failure to respond within this timeframe may result in the court assuming no contest.
- Completion of other required forms – Your lawyer will assist you in completing additional forms, such as the Request for Divorce, Affidavit of Applicant and proposed Divorce Judgment, and any other necessary documentation specific to your case.
- Await court review – Once all the required forms are completed and submitted, both parties will await the review of the case by the court. It typically takes around 4-6 weeks after a judgment is made for both parties to receive copies of the Divorce Judgment.
- Receipt of Certificate of Divorce – Following the completion of these steps, you will receive a Certificate of Divorce. This document can be requested 31 days after the Divorce Judgment is made, finalizing the divorce process.
While this outline provides a general overview, the specific process for your divorce may vary slightly based on the circumstances. Consulting with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Calgary will ensure that you receive accurate and tailored guidance throughout your divorce proceedings.
Main items in a divorce agreement
Before reaching a divorce agreement, couples typically need to address several key areas that require decisions to be made. This process can be particularly complex when children are involved as their best interests always take precedence.
When emotions are heightened, it can be challenging to make impartial decisions that prioritize the best interests of the children. In such cases, the expertise and patience of an experienced divorce lawyer are invaluable. A lawyer can serve as a mediator or collaboratively work with you to help navigate these issues, aiming for mutually agreeable resolutions.
The following are the primary matters that you and your spouse must strive to reach an agreement on:
- Property division – Determining how assets and debts acquired during the marriage will be divided is a crucial aspect of the divorce process. This includes properties, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, and other jointly held assets.
- Spousal support – If one spouse requires financial assistance after the divorce, spousal support (or alimony) may come into play. The amount and duration of support depend on various factors such as income, earning potential, and the length of the marriage.
- Parenting and decision making – When there are children involved, decisions regarding parenting time and decision making arrangements must be made. This includes determining who the children will primarily reside with, visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent, and making decisions about their upbringing, education, and healthcare.
An experienced divorce lawyer can provide guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and help you make informed decisions that protect your rights and the well-being of your children.
Methods to resolve divorce
Determining the best method to resolve a divorce depends on the specific circumstances and the preferences of the individuals involved. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as what works for one couple may not be suitable for another. It’s essential to consider factors such as the level of conflict, communication dynamics, complexity of issues, and the willingness to cooperate.
There are various methods available to resolve divorce proceedings, each with its own advantages and considerations:
- Divorce Mediation – In divorce mediation, a neutral mediator facilitates discussions to help couples reach mutually acceptable agreements. It promotes collaboration, communication, and decision-making together, leading to an amicable and cost-effective resolution. Mediation covers various areas, such as child custody, asset division, and support arrangements.
- Divorce Arbitration – In divorce arbitration, a neutral arbitrator acts as a private judge to settle disputes. It offers a streamlined and private process with flexibility in scheduling. The arbitrator listens to arguments, reviews evidence, and makes binding decisions. While appeals are limited, arbitration provides a less formal and efficient alternative to litigation.
- Divorce Litigation – Divorce litigation involves formal court proceedings. It is typically necessary for cases with significant conflicts or complex legal matters. Litigation allows for presenting arguments, providing evidence, and having a judge make final decisions. While it offers a thorough examination of the case, litigation can be costly and emotionally challenging.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is my first step in getting separated or divorced?
We recommended getting legal advice as early as possible during your separation. A lawyer can provide you with your dispute resolution options to minimize the emotional and financial strain of your legal proceedings. When and how you tell your partner about the separation will be unique to your situation. If you have concerns for your safety, a lawyer can write to your partner and advise them of the separation, or if you are amicable, you can tell them of your intentions to separate and discuss the next steps together.
It is important to know that speaking with a lawyer is always confidential, and YOU decide when and how to move forward. A lawyer will not take any steps or contact the other party without your written instructions.
What is the difference between separation and divorce?
In Alberta, there are no official Court proceedings needed to separate; parties simply need to live their lives independently from one another. As such, it is possible to be separated and still lives in the same house. Obtaining a divorce is a legal proceeding which requires a Justice / Judge to sign off on a document called a Divorce Judgment.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Calgary and what must be proven?
The time it takes for a divorce finalization will vary on a case-by-case basis. For divorces with no children and property, the general time frame is 4 to 6 months.
When there are children and property involved, you can expect the divorce proceedings to take much longer. Ultimately, the time it takes to get a divorce depends on the dispute resolution options selected and the behaviour of each party.
Will I have to go to court for a divorce, or other reasons?
No, you can get a divorce in Calgary without having to go to Court. However, you will need to file legal documents at the courthouse. If you and your partner are amicable, you can obtain a divorce without stepping foot inside a courtroom.
How long do you have to be separated before filing for a divorce?
In Canada, you must be separated for a minimum of one year before submitting your Divorce Judgment for review by the Justice / Judge. However, you can file a Statement of Claim for Divorce to initiate the divorce proceedings as soon as you separate.
I want to file for a divorce, but my partner doesn’t want to. Will I still be able to file for a divorce?
In Canada you do not need both spouses’ consent to initiate a divorce. There are two common types of divorces:
- contested – one spouse wants a divorce while the other partner doesn’t want one; or
- uncontested – Both spouses have a mutual agreement about getting a divorce.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is where the parties are amicable and able to reach resolutions on the following issues without attending Court or Arbitration:
- parenting / decision making;
- child / spousal support;
- division of family property
Parties wishing to proceed with an uncontested divorce will still benefit from legal advice from a lawyer to ensure their resolutions are legally binding.
What is a contested divorce?
In a divorce where you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, the Court considers the divorce contested. The parties must appear before a Justice / Judge / Arbitrator who will impose a decision on them outlining the resolution to their matters.
How do I apply to get divorced?
In order to obtain a divorce, you must file a Statement of Claim for Divorce through the courthouse. Often, parties then enter into a Separation Agreement which outlines all of the matters between them including, but not limited to: parenting/decision making, child/spousal support; and division of family property. One the parties have been separation for 1-year, they can file a “desk divorce package” which includes the Divorce Judgment, Affidavit of Applicant and Request for Divorce.
What are grounds for divorce?
There are 3 legally accepted grounds for divorce, according to the Divorce Act:
- 1 year separation – you and your spouse have been separated for a minimum of one year.
- one of the parties, since the celebration of the marriage, committed adultery; or
- one of the parties, since the celebration of the marriage, treated the other party with physical or mental cruelty.
How much does a divorce lawyer in Calgary cost?
As with other family law work, most Calgary divorce lawyers will quote you an hourly rate. This can be anywhere from around $200 to $500 per hour. An uncontested desk divorce might have a fixed fee in the $2,500 to $4,000 range if the parties are amicable.
How soon can you get married after a divorce in Calgary?
If you want to marry after a divorce, you need to obtain a Divorce Judgment and then apply for a Certificate of Divorce.
Check out our blog article to learn more: Planning to Remarry Following Divorce? Read our Checklist
Who decides who will get child custody after divorce?
In some cases, parties cannot agree and must ask the court, or an Arbitrator, to decide for them. In that case, the Judge / Justice / Arbitrator must decide using the test of the best interests of the children. The Family Law Act sets out some tools for the judge to use when deciding what is in the child’s best interests.
How is a family property divided in a divorce?
The Family Property Act, formerly the Matrimonial Property Act is the legislation used to classify and distribute property when a marriage or common law relationship ends. The basic presumption of the law is that family property and debts will be divided equally between spouses.
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Calgary
Hiring a divorce lawyer in Calgary can provide invaluable support and guidance during the challenging process of divorce. Our skilled and experienced divorce lawyers understand the intricacies of family law in Calgary and can advocate for your rights and interests. We can navigate complex legal procedures, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your voice is heard in court if necessary.
By partnering with one of our trusted divorce lawyers in Calgary, you can gain peace of mind, knowing that you have a dedicated professional by your side, working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.