Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Serving Alberta and Western Canada
At Chadi & Company, we understand the many factors that come into play when our clients have made the difficult decision to end their marriage.
Often, when a marriage is being terminated, emotions run high, especially when children or significant assets are involved. It is our mission to support you and your family with the utmost compassion and professionalism throughout this entire process.
Although we cannot ease the heartache that so often accompanies divorce, we can advocate on your behalf for the absolute best possible outcome.
We have assisted countless clients in Edmonton and across Alberta through this challenging process in the quickest, least painful, and most cost-effective manner possible.
Grounds for Divorce
According to the Divorce Act, which governs divorce law in Alberta, there are three grounds for obtaining a divorce: separation, adultery, and cruelty.
If you and your spouse have lived apart for at least one year, you can file for divorce on the grounds of being separated.
Although the action for divorce can begin within the one-year period, you must wait until its end before a divorce judgment can be made by the court.
During the qualifying year, you are permitted to live with your spouse due to financial or family circumstances, but you must prove that you were separated during that time.
When a married person has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse, this is considered to be an act of adultery.
If your spouse has committed adultery, you can file for divorce on these grounds at any time after learning of it.
If your spouse has committed physical or mental cruelty against you, including acts of violence, verbal abuse, drunkenness, or excessive drug use, you can file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty at any time.
It’s important to note that the cruelty must severe enough that it makes living together impossible, but it must only have been a one-time occurrence in order to be actionable.
How to file for divorce in Alberta?
If you are considering divorce in Edmonton, our lawyers can guide you through the following steps:
- Consult a knowledgeable lawyer — Even if you and your spouse are headed for an amicable divorce, you should consult with an experienced counsellor before moving forward. A family lawyer in Edmonton can review your estate, assets, debts, and divorce objectives and help you create a sound agreement. And your lawyer can help you iron out any issues that might arise suddenly.
- Statement of Claim for Divorce — The Statement of Claim for Divorce must be filed. Under a joint divorce, both spouses file their statements together.
- Return the Statement of Claim for Divorce — Once the Statement of Claim for Divorce is completed, it must be returned to the courthouse.
- Serving the Defendant — Next, the defendant must be served the statement. The statement of divorce must be delivered to the defendant by anyone other than you.
- Disputing the Statement of Claim of Divorce — Defendant has 20 days — 30 days out of province but still in Canada, 60 days if out of the country — to contest the Statement of Claim. Suppose Defendant fails to respond within the appropriate time. In that case, Plaintiff may file a Sworn Affidavit of Service, Noting in Default, Request for Divorce, Affidavit of Applicant, and a proposed Divorce Judgement.
- The Signing of the Divorce Judgement — A justice will review the statement and determine if it is ready for signing. This process can take 4-6 weeks.
- Requesting a Certificate of Divorce — Once the Divorce Judgement has been signed, it becomes finalized after 31 days. Next, you and your ex-spouse may request a Certificate of Divorce from the Courthouse, which proves your marriage is over.
Divorce is one of the most difficult events in a person’s life. Whether you are filing or facing a divorce action, our experienced lawyer can work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests at every turn.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Edmonton?
Contrary to what you might see on TV and in movies, not every divorce involves a courtroom battle. It is often in a couple’s best interests to seek an uncontested divorce instead of litigation.
If you and your spouse are on good terms, getting a divorce might be easier than you think. If both of you agree to a separation, an uncontested divorce is one of the fastest and most affordable options.
Also known as amicable, an uncontested divorce happens when neither party objects to ending the marriage. You and your spouse must agree on resolving child custody and spousal support issues.
As a result, you do not need the court’s assistance, and thus you will not need to appear before a judge.
In an uncontested divorce, one party must still apply for the divorce — a difference from a joint divorce where a couple files the divorce together.
To file an uncontested divorce in Alberta, you must meet the following requirements:
- You or your spouse have lived in Alberta for at least 12 months.
- You and your spouse agree on how to handle assets, debts, and property.
- You and your spouse agree on whether there should be spousal support and how it should be handled.
- You and your spouse agree on handling custody issues regarding dependent children.
In Alberta, an uncontested divorce is sometimes referred to as a “desk divorce” because the marriage is ended via the filing of paperwork and does not require intervention by the court. If you and your spouse file a “joint” divorce, there is no need to serve any paperwork, which can reduce the contentious nature of the divorce. Further, under a joint divorce, there is no “plaintiff” or “defendant.” Rather, parties are referred to as “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2.”
What is a contested divorce in Edmonton?
Unfortunately, many divorces are contested. A contested divorce occurs when one spouse wants to end the marriage and the other does not. Or because a couple is in stark disagreement about resolving property, debt, support, asset, or custody issues and therefore requires court assistance.
Contested divorces are more costly and time-consuming than uncontested divorces because they often require litigation to resolve issues. However, a contested divorce may be resolved by negotiating out of court or through mediation.
Protecting You and Your Family
Even if your divorce is amicable, many issues will still need to be resolved, including child custody and support, parenting access, division of property, and other forms of financial support.
This is why it is so important to consult with an experienced Alberta divorce lawyer, even if you believe your divorce will be quick and easy.
Custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of a child’s care and upbringing.
There are various types of custody, including joint, sole, shared, and split. In making a custody decision, the court will primarily consider what is in the best interest of the child.
There is physical custody, which refers to where the child lives, and legal custody, which refers to who makes important decisions about the child’s welfare.
In Alberta, a child has the right to have access to, or contact with, both parents. Access can be detailed in a specific schedule, or the parents may request reasonable access, which is when both agree to use a flexible schedule.
Either the parents or the court may also decide that access includes other rights, such as attending parent-teacher interviews and participating in medical decisions.
Additional conditions or restrictions may be imposed, such as a parent not being permitted to consume alcohol before or during visits.
Child support is a monthly payment made by one parent to the other in an effort to help the receiving parent cover the costs of caring for the child.
In Alberta, children have a legal right to be financially supported by both parents, and child support payments are one way of helping to ensure that this happens.
An experienced Edmonton child support lawyer can help you protect the rights and best interests of you and your child.
Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is a form of financial support sometimes paid by a higher-earning former spouse to a lower-earning former spouse, once their marriage ends.
According to the Divorce Act, spousal support aims to alleviate the financial disparity between partners upon the dissolution of marriage. Spousal support generally lasts for a limited period of time.
If you are ordered to pay spousal support, it will typically be calculated based upon the length of your marriage.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Alberta?
It is not possible to guarantee the costs of a divorce without knowing all the facts.
Whether you and your spouse are filing for an uncontested divorce or a contested one, it is critical to consult with an experienced lawyer.
Although it may be tempting to try a do-it-yourself divorce if no children are involved and you have minimal assets, issues can arise in even the most straightforward, amicable divorces.
In some cases, minor errors can have costly consequences. Hiring an Alberta divorce lawyer can save you significantly in the long run—in time, stress, and expense.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
Whether you are embroiled in a messy divorce battle, in mutual agreement and working toward an amicable split, or just considering the idea of divorce, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.
We have been helping clients navigate this complex and confusing process in Edmonton and throughout Alberta since 1991.
Our experienced, compassionate legal team offers premium services at a highly affordable rate, and we will remain firmly by your side the entire time.
Do not go through this difficult process without the help of skilled, knowledgeable legal counsel. Contact Chadi & Company today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.