Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Divorce, Separation and Mediation
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FAQs - Divorce
Q: What is an "Uncontested Divorce"
An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all of the issues in the divorce i.e. parenting matters, division of matrimonial property assets, child support, spousal support. If one of the spouses disagrees and are you not able to come to an agreement on any matter the divorce becomes contested.
Q: What are grounds for divorce?
Section 8(1) of the Divorce Act (Canada) states that upon application by a spouse or both spouses a court of competent jurisdiction may grant a divorce on the ground there has been a breakdown of the marriage: A breakdown of the marriage can be established in one of three ways:
- You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year with the idea the marriage is over; or
- Your spouse has committed adultery and you have not forgiven your spouse; or
- Your spouse has treated you with physical or mental cruelty, making it intolerable to continue to live together.
Over 80 percent of divorces in Canada are on the grounds of one-year separations.
Q: Are there other Requirements to obtain a divorce in Alberta?
You must have lived in Alberta for at least one year before commencing an action for divorce.
If you and your spouse have children the judge must be satisfied that you have made reasonable arrangements for their care and financial support. If the judge is not satisfied that reasonable arrangements have been made the judge may not grant your divorce.
Q. Can spouses be separated but still live within the same home?
Sometimes spouses cannot afford to live on their own or choose to live in the same house for the sake of the children. If the spouses maintain separate bedrooms and no longer live together as husband and wife, they can be considered separated.
Q: How do we divide our property?
If you have property together, your property must have been divided either by agreement or by applying to the courts for a division of property.
Q. What financial information should be exchanged when separating and/or going through a divorce?
The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Notice to Disclose sets out the documentation that must be provided and exchanged between the parties to constitute full financial disclosure. Lawyers require that parties do provide and exchange all documentation and information. You may not want to be as in-depth with the exchange of financial disclosure, however, parties should obtain enough financial disclosure to ensure they are informed prior to making decisions and entering into agreements regarding division of assets and debts, child support and spousal support.
Q: Do arrangements have to be made for minor children to get a divorce?
If you and your spouse have children the judge must be satisfied that you have made reasonable arrangements to take care of and support the children financially after the divorce takes place. If the judge is not satisfied that reasonable arrangements have been made the judge may not grant your divorce.
Q: Can I apply for spousal support?
If you were married or lived in an adult interdependent relationship with another person, you each have an obligation to support each other. However, no one is automatically entitled to spousal support, so you should talk to a lawyer to see if you would be entitled, and if so, how much your spouse/partner may be ordered to pay. For more information on spousal support click here.
Q: How does my spouse receive the divorce documents?
You must know the location of your spouse in order for a third party to personally serve the Statement of Claim for Divorce on your spouse.
Q: What do I do if I don`t know where my spouse lives?
If you do not know the location of your spouse, an Order for Substitutional Service must be granted by a court in order to serve the document via an alternate method i.e. email, facebook, newspaper publication or left with another adult person.
Q: What do I do if there has been past domestic violence and I am afraid of serving my spouse?
If there has been past violence from your spouse, you may be able to convince the Court that service should be dispensed with. You will need to appear before a judge to provide details supported by documentary evidence to apply for an Order Dispensing with Service.
Q: Is there anything else I need to apply for a divorce?
You must either have your original Certificate of Marriage (issued by Vital Statistics if you were married in Canada) or the original certificate of marriage from the ceremony (if you were married outside of Canada). You will also need a picture of your spouse.
Parents with children under the age of 16 years are required to attend the Parenting After Separation Course unless the parties live more than 150 kilometers from a city or town offering the Parenting After Separation Course.
Note: You can obtain a Certificate of Marriage from Vital Statistics through a registry or we can obtain a Certificate of Marriage from the registry for you at no charge other than the registry and government fees.
Q: Are there exemptions from taking the Parenting after Separation Course?
If the parties have agreed on all parenting matters and entered into a Separation Agreement, the Separation Agreement can be filed with the court so attendance at the Parenting After Separation Course is not required.
Q: How long does the divorce process take?
The length of time for an uncontested divorce varies depending on the time of year and volume in the courthouse. Generally, it will take anywhere from 3 – 6 months for your divorce to be finalized. At WIN/WIN Divorce Resolution we process your divorce documents as soon as we get the information. We understand how much it means for you to be able to get on with your life.
As qualified paralegals, we are able to offer a range of additional paralegal services such as pre-nuptial, co-habitation and separation agreements, transfers of land… Learn more here
Parenting after Seperation
Parenting After Separation is a two hour on-line course or a six hour seminar offering information to guardians and parents about the separation and divorce process, the effects of separation and divorce on children… Learn more here
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: At WIN/WIN Divorce Resolution we will provide you with information but we do not offer legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult with a lawyer specializing in family law. If you do not have a lawyer, we can refer you to a lawyer to obtain legal advice.