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FAQs most common in divorce

How long does a divorce take in Alberta?

While working in the Divorce Section at the Calgary Courts, I’ve seen the divorce applications take between two to thirty weeks, depending on the volume of work and the number of staff working in the section.

The good news is that divorces in Alberta currently are taking around two to four months, depending on the Jurisdiction. This does not include the “one month appeal period” which is counted starting at the time that the Justice signs the Divorce Judgment. Following the appeal period, parties are officially divorced and can request to have a copy of their final “Divorce Certificate”.

My divorce is taking long and I want to travel with my children on a vacation. Their other parent won’t sign the document, is there anything I can do?
Yes. What you can do in this case is file a Travel Application in court that requests a grant to either direct the mother/father to consent, or allow you to travel without his/her consent. The passport office would request a certified copy of that order in order to approve your travel documents.

I am not a Canadian Citizen, can I still apply for divorce in Alberta?
Yes. The Rules of Court only requires that one of the parties to have lived in Alberta for a year prior to filing for divorce. You can also file for divorce if your spouse does not live in Alberta or Canada.

I can not find my spouse, so I don’t know how to serve him/her with divorce papers.
There are ways to serve your spouse “substitutionally”, which means with alternative ways to the personal service.

The Justices are understanding in these situations and will often grant an order to serve the person via registered mail, email, or even Facebook.

After I got my final Divorce Judgment, I realized I no longer approve the parenting arrangement ordered in it. Can I do anything?
Yes. Even though the Divorce Judgment is regarded as your “Final Divorce Document”, it doesn’t have to be.

You can always go back to court and request a different order, whether it is in relation to custody, parenting, or even support. This does not jeopardize your status as a divorced person, as you’d only be requesting that part(s) of the Divorce Judgment be amended (revised).

What is Corollary Relief?

Corollary Relief refers to one of three things: Custody, Access, and Child and/or Spousal Support. When you request the courts to “Sever Corollary Relief”, you are asking to separate those issues from your divorce proceedings, so you may obtain your divorce first, then settle disputes arising from “Corollary Relief” matters at a later time.

Is it better to be the plaintiff in an action?

Yes and no.

Yes, if the defendant does not file a Defence. When you file a Claim for Divorce and serve it to the defendant and that person does nothing (i.e. does not file responding documents), you have control to proceed with the divorce without his/her consent or endorsement.

No, if the defendant files one or all of the Response Documents. In this case, you are both equal as neither of you can move forward without the other person agreeing to the terms.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is calculated according to a guideline set up by the government. It is referred to as the Child Support Federal Guideline. It takes into consideration three factors:

  • the incomes of the parties,
  • the number of children and their ages, and
  • whom the children reside with.

Do I pay less child support if the children live with me?

Child support calculations are dependent on each family’s specific situation.

If you are the “payor” in an action (i.e. you are the one with the higher income), chances are that if you move to a shared custody (the children live equal times with each parent) or joint custody (where the children live primarily with you), you will pay less for child support.

In these cases, you would be providing for the children during the time that they are living with you, therefore, are required to pay less to the other parent.

What are the grounds for divorce in Alberta and what does each entail?
There are three grounds for divorce under the Divorce Act of Canada, and they are:

Living Separate and Apart for a period exceeding one year from the date of separation.
The majority of divorces are filed under this ground as it is the easiest to prove and the most straightforward ground for divorce.

Adultery
If you file for divorce under this ground, you do not have to wait until the one year since the separation elapses. However, there is one requirement: your spouse has to submit an Affidavit swearing that she/he committed Adultery, and in it, state the time and place where it occurred.

Physical and Mental Cruelty
While domestic violence happens often, most parties choose to separate for a period exceeding a year instead of filing through this ground.

What is an “uncontested divorce”?
An uncontested divorce is one in which neither party opposes the divorce or any of its provisions.

Usually, in an uncontested divorce situation, the person who files the Statement of Claim for Divorce, also named the Plaintiff, files the required documents without the involvement of the other spouse.

What gets in the way of an uncontested divorce? Find out here.

What is a Joint Divorce?
A joint divorce is when both parties file for divorce together. In a joint divorce, there is no service and no waiting period for the other spouse to respond. The steps are simple, easy and convenient, including:

  • The documents are prepared
  • The parties meet with a Commissioner for Oath to have documents sworn.
  • The documents are filed all at the same time.

Any questions left unanswered? I am a divorce expert with over 10 years experience in the divorce field. Contact me for a consultation to see how I can help make your divorce easier.

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