You’ve separated from your spouse, moved out of the house, and finally was able to sit down alone and think of your options going forward. To give you more clarity, here are your three ways for how to file for divorce in Alberta, Canada:
Even though in most cases, one party decides to go the divorce route before the other, eventually the other spouse catches up and agrees to the divorce as well. Parties here go through the emotions, and the ups and downs of divorce, just like everyone else, but they are able to put those aside and see things from a practical perspective. What helps them be able to do so is that neither of them is out to get the other. There is still some trust left, and they both continue to want what’s best for one another. There is no animosity, neither is there a substantial power imbalance. If they have kids, they often decide together custody, access and child support based on what’s best for the children, and not them. Filing a divorce application for a joint divorce in Alberta is relatively quicker than that of an Uncontested Divorce, with fewer steps. Both parties feel equally involved and empowered to make decisions that are best for them as well as their children.
In an Uncontested Divorce Application, one party usually decides to go forward with the divorce. In most of these cases, the parties separate for at least a few months before one of them decides to make the separation official and file for divorce. The other party referred to as the “defendant” in court terms is usually aware that his spouse has initiated the divorce and expects to be served the Divorce Claim. If the defendant accepts the terms in the Claim, she does not file any replies (or defence documents) in court. The divorce in this situation continues to be uncontested and the plaintiff (the person initiating the divorce) carries on with the filing without the involvement of the defendant.
Filing for uncontested divorce in Alberta can take one or two months more than a joint divorce to allow the right amount of time for the defendant to be notified and provided sufficient time to respond.
A contested divorce is when parties don’t agree to one or more of the elements of their divorce, including the division of assets, custody, parenting and child support. Generally, in those cases, parties tend to hire lawyers to represent them as court attendance is heightened and court procedures become complicated for non-lawyer.
Emotions are usually escalated as parties drift even farther from one another, making the communication even harder. When communication becomes poor (or non-existent), trust is lost, and parties turn on the defensive mode and quickly find themselves in a long and painful court battle. Legal cost to a contested divorce is known to reach the tens of thousands of dollars, and the divorce is not granted by the courts until many years of battling had passed.
For joint and uncontested divorces, parties can prepare the documents themselves with the assistance of court clerks. In Alberta, each major court jurisdiction provides limited assistance to self-represented litigants, who decide to file for divorce themselves.
Another option is to hire a paralegal or lawyer to prepare the documents for you. A paralegal is able to offer the right kind of support and guidance to help you get through the divorce process easy and quick, and without costing a fortune. If you’re looking for a divorce paralegal to help you file for divorce in Alberta, get in touch with us!