Protecting your rights and your family’s best interests
Separation is defined as when a couple that has been in a relationship choose to live independently of each other. Separation requires recognition by at least one of the spouses that the relationship is at an end as well as an actual physical separation. Spouses can continue to live in a family home together during separation so long as they can establish that they are living separate and apart despite living under the same roof. Couples will often prepare a separation agreement that outlines how they will organize their affairs in regards to family property, debt, household expenses and parenting arrangements if they have children together.
A separation agreement (sometimes also referred to as Minutes of Settlement or a Divorce and Property Contract) is the legal contract between spouses when they have come to a full agreement on relevant issues. These issues can be custody, access, parenting time, child and/or spousal support and any matrimonial or joint property. A separation agreement does not end your marriage, it’s an outline of your rights and obligations that you agree to accept when you separate. For a divorce or separation to be legally binding in Alberta each spouse must obtain independent legal counsel to ensure that you are advised with regard to your rights and responsibilities . This agreement is legally binding and can be enforced in court if either party refuses to carry out his/her obligations.
The formal process of divorce consists of filing court forms with the Court of Queen’s Bench. These forms often begin with the Statement of Claim for Divorce and ends with the Certificate of Divorce.
In many cases divorces are reached at the end of settlement negotiations as opposed to constant Court applications. This means that the divorcing couple have agreed upon how they are going to settle their parenting, support and property issues. Some processes used to achieve an uncontested divorce are the Mediation process and Collaborative Family Law. Once the parties agree on the terms of their divorce, they are able to obtain a consent divorce order without the cost of a trial.
In the event that a decision maker is required to help the parties finalize their issues, the parties can make use of the traditional Court system or use a private arbitrator.
Divorce costs are affected by:
- The spouses’ level of cooperation and disclosure during the process
- The complexity of family property issues
- Whether the divorce is by consent or requires a trial
Please contact us to review your unique situation and discuss various options. At Taylor Wray LLP we can help you begin the process of a post separation life that prioritizes the needs and best interests of any children involved while maintaining financial stability for both parties.