Family Lawyers in Edmonton and Alberta
Changing your family structure can be an exceptionally challenging, stressful experience.
In a separation or divorce, your lifestyle, daily routine, and circles of family and friends may quickly become unrecognizable.
Many people undergoing a separation settle for unfair terms in order to simply leave the ordeal behind them, and in so doing, damage their futures in the long term.
At Chadi & Company, our team of dedicated, compassionate family lawyers can guide you through the complex processes of separation, divorce, and determining child custody arrangements, child support, and spousal support.
Our lawyers have helped families and individuals in Edmonton and across Alberta regain control over their lives since 1991.
Protecting You and Your Family
At Chadi & Company, we believe that closing one chapter opens your life up to a new one, even though it may seem stressful at the time.
We are committed to making this life transition as smooth and cost-effective as possible for our clients. Our legal team handles all family law matters and the most common include:
For couples who have decided to end their marriage, many questions arise.
- How will we divide our assets?
- Who will take primary custody of the children?
- Is spousal support an option?
Before you file for divorce, it’s a good idea to review your grounds for doing so, as they can affect the outcome of your settlement.
A qualified Alberta divorce lawyer can advise you on crafting a separation agreement that is equitable to both parties and functions in the best interests of any children. If your divorce has already been finalized, a lawyer can help you in enforcing or requesting changes to a separation agreement.
In family law, all decisions that impact children should be made in the best interests of the child.
Regardless of the results of a divorce, parents are responsible for feeding, clothing, housing, and generally caring for their children. If the court does not believe that one or both parents are fit to give this care, they may revoke child custody rights.
In most cases, however, both separating parents are considered guardians, regardless of whether they were married or simply partnered. Guardianship gives shared authority in decisions, responsibilities, and entitlements where the child is concerned. The court also takes into consideration the wishes of any child old enough to express their opinion.
Most separating parents are able to come to an agreement regarding child custody without going to court. A child custody lawyer can craft an agreement based on your unique circumstances that are agreeable to both partners, and you may never see the inside of a courtroom.
However, if two parents cannot come to an agreement on a decision affecting their child, the court may issue a parenting order, deciding for them. An experienced family lawyer can assist you in submitting documentation for the court to consider when making a parenting order determination, or they can appeal an adverse decision.
Child support is the money that one parent pays another during and after a separation or divorce, in order to supplement the expenses of raising the child. Child support differs from spousal support in that it solely benefits the child. It is the child, not the parents, who have the right to child support.
Determining the proper amount of child support can be complicated. As such, the federal government provides Child Support Guidelines in order to assist parents when negotiating child support payments. A lawyer can facilitate this process by interpreting the guidelines for you and explaining how they apply to your specific situation.
The amount of child support is decided by factors such as:
- the number of children;
- which parent each child lives with most of the time;
- the annual income of each parent; and
- in which province the paying parent lives.
Spousal or partner support is the money that one spouse or partner pays another in order to support the receiving spouse after separation. Both married couples and couples in an Adult Interdependent Relationship qualify for spousal or partner support.
Typically, the higher-earning spouse will pay spousal support to the spouse with a lower income. Several factors influence whether or not the court will order spousal support, as well as the amount of support granted, including:
- Each party’s individual means (income) and needs;
- The length of time the couple lived together;
- If either spouse lives with someone else and how much support that spouse receives from them; and
- Whether or not the parties have already started divorce action, or if the parties are in an Adult Interdependent Relationship.
When you share a life with someone, it’s likely that you’ll purchase property together, or that both partners will live or subsist off of the property of one. Once you decide to separate, however, the question of who retains what property can become murky.
The property does not only refer to real estate. It also encompasses financial assets, vehicles, furniture, companion animals, vehicles, and pension funds. A lawyer will help you determine which assets are the sole property of either you or your partner, and which are jointly owned.
The Family Property Act provides pre-determined property division rules for both married couples and those in adult interdependent relationships. However, you can choose to forego these rules in favour of your own agreement, which a lawyer can help you draft.
When you first enter into a lifelong relationship, it can be uncomfortable to consider the possibility that it might end.
Consequently, many couples avoid drafting prenuptial or cohabitation agreements. But these agreements can save a lot of heartache in the long run, in the event of a divorce or separation.
Involving a lawyer early on helps many couples to resolve misunderstandings, decide on the division of property and child custody rules, and allows each partner to embark on their marriage or cohabitation on equal footing.
Overall, many find that drawing up a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement is beneficial to their relationship, despite the temporary discomfort.
It is important for couples in long-term relationships to understand that Alberta law gives many of the same rights and obligations to non-married couples as to those who are married.
In Alberta, the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act was passed in 2003 to give rights and obligations to couples in qualifying long-term relationships.
If you have questions about how to protect your rights in an adult interdependent relationship, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help. We have successfully represented countless clients in common law and AIP cases across Alberta.
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.
These cases typically arise during one of the most challenging times your family will ever face.
Having a knowledgeable and effective advocate to protect your interests can help you focus on what’s most important.
Contact Chadi & Company Family Lawyers Today
Whether you’ve just decided to separate, or are struggling to collect spousal or child support, the legal team at Chadi & Company can help. We are committed to achieving the outcome our clients desire in a timely and economical manner.