Divorce is an emotionally difficult and financially challenging time. Choosing the right lawyer can make all the difference.

Ending a marriage is a difficult process. It’s emotionally charged, and requires you to make many tough decisions. A family lawyer will help you navigate the divorce and separation process to maintain the best interests of both parties.

Divorce is the final, legal ending of a marriage. In Canada, divorce is governed federally by the Divorce Act. The law dictates that marriage breakdown has occurred if:

  • you and your spouse have lived “separate and apart” for one year
  • your spouse has committed adultery
  • your spouse has been physically or mentally cruel to you.
  • In Canada, most divorces are based on a year of separation. Living “separate and apart” doesn’t always mean living in separate homes; you can be separated but still living in the same home due to parenting or financial reasons.

To begin a divorce, one of the parties files a Statement of Claim for Divorce. To file for divorce in Alberta at least one party must be a resident of Alberta. Within this Statement of Claim they can also file for a division of matrimonial property, propose parenting of any children of the marriage, and child support or spousal support. The filed Claim is then served on the other spouse.

The responding spouse may choose to file a Statement of Defence if they disagree with the proposed Claim. If they agree with the proposed divorce they can file a demand of notice. Lastly, they can file a Counterclaim, which introduces a separate proposal with respect to matrimonial property, support or parenting. The Counterclaim for divorce would then be served on the other spouse.

Once both parties have been ordered by a court or have agreed upon a matrimonial property or settlement agreement with respect to the division of property, parenting of the children and the payment of child support or spousal support they may apply for the divorce to be final. A Divorce Judgement is then forwarded to the court and 30 days after the Divorce Judgement has been signed the parties may file for a Certification of Divorce. Neither spouse can remarry until the Certificate of Divorce is obtained.

RCMV Family Lawyers know how difficult divorce and separation can be. They also understand the intricacies of the Divorce Act and the law, and can help you make your divorce as painless and efficient as possible.