Divorce Blog

Useful Divorce Related Links – Alberta

By Ryan Womeldorf

Are you anticipating or in the middle of a family law matter? There are a few helpful divorce links that can provide insight and information on the process.

Children

working man computerParenting After Separation Course

  • Register for the Mandatory Parenting After Separation Online Course
    Parenting After Separation is a 3-hour e-Course offered to individuals and families at no cost. PAS provides valuable information to parents either going through separation or who have recently completed the process. The PAS course offers information about the impacts of separation and divorce on children. Furthermore, it offers  communication techniques and legal information that can impact both parent and child. Lastly, they also teach parents the importance of working together. In other words, they can best meet the health, social, educational, and emotional needs of the children.
  • Register for the Parenting After Separation for Families in High Conflict Course
    A course for high-conflict separations. In some situations, high conflict can make direct communication difficult or even impossible. Some parents can experience high conflict during periods of collaborative parenting. High conflict levels are always negative on the children. The course is in addition to the Parenting After Separation course completed previously. PAS emphasizes the need for parents to work together in raising the children. This course, meanwhile, teaches additional strategies for reducing conflict in the parental relationship. The goal is to help minimize those periods of conflict and the impacts that they can have on the children. The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete.

Child Support

  • Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program
    This program is a collection and enforcement of court-ordered child support, partner and spousal support, as well as MEP supports and resources.
  • Child Support Calculator
    Federal Child Support Tables were updated, beginning from November 22, 2017 onward, for example, to reflect recent tax rules.

    • The 2011 look-up should be used to calculate child support amounts for a period of time between December 31, 2011 and November 21, 2017.
  • Child Support Recalculation Program
    • The Child Support Recalculation Program aims to help parents with support orders. The recalculation program recalculates child support based on the parent’s current income tax information. Above all, the goal is to keep support levels in line with income so families can avoid the costs of asking courts to review support orders. Payors must provide income information each year.
  • Federal Child Support Guidelines
    • Provides general information, worksheets, and instructions to help with child support decisions during separation or divorce. Based on the Divorce Act. Specifically, it is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which are regulations under the Divorce Act. There are also territorial and provincial child support guidelines; therefore, which one applies depends on your situation. This guide helps determine which is best. The child support laws in most provinces and territories are much like the Federal Guidelines. They may only have minor differences (except in Quebec, which has its own child support model). However, even if provincial or territorial guidelines apply to your situation, consulting this guide can’t hurt.

Travelling with a Child

  • Passport Canada
    Whether children are travelling outside Canada with you or on their own, start preparing well before they leave to ensure a safe and happy trip.
  • Department of Travel and Tourism – Recommended Travel Form
    This is a sample consent letter provided by Global Affairs Canada. It can be modified to meet your specific needs. For instructions and an interactive form you can use to create a customized letter, visit travel.gc.ca/letter.

Supervised Visitation

    • Families First Support Services
      Families First Support Services provides: virtual visitation, supervised access, monitored exchanges, in-home assessments, and transportation. Demonstrate a commitment to providing these services in a neutral, unbiased, safe environment. The commitment is to ensure the respect of all individuals in their role as parents. Moreover, it is to protect the children remaining in contact with their parents.
    • YWCA Visitation Services
      YW’s Family Access (Visitation) Services provides safe, supported and supervised visitation and exchange services for families going through times of transition. Useful in situations of high conflict and stress. For example, custodial agreements, conflict and safety issues tend to arise in these situations between children and non-custodial parents. This program helps facilitate visits and exchanges between children and non-custodial parents in a safe, supportive environment. That helps to foster healthy relationships during times of conflict.

Representation for Children

  • Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre (CLERC)
    CLERC is: 
    The only registered charity in Western Canada providing specialized legal support to vulnerable children and youth. Most importantly, they have a commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable young people through legal work.
    CLERC isn’t: Does not provide legal support on criminal matters or to children involved in child protection proceedings. Those young people, however, are referred to government agencies. For example, the Youth Criminal Defence Office of Legal Aid Alberta and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate.
    The Mission: To provide legal advice and representation directly to vulnerable children and youth. At the same time, the goal is to build the community’s capacity to protect their legal rights through information, education and training.
  • Legal Representation for Children and Youth (LRCY)
    What does LRCY do?

      • Provides lawyers for children and youth in child intervention matters.
      • Receives referrals from young people, caseworkers, the Court, parents, foster parents, and concerned individuals
      • Appoints lawyers from a roster, for instance
      • Sets and monitors service standards for lawyers
      • Pays lawyers for services provided
  • Office of the Child and Youth Advocate
    The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is a child rights-based organization. Established in 1989. Became an independent legislative office with the proclamation of the Child and Youth Advocate Act on April 1, 2012. Furthermore, it is an independent officer reporting to the Alberta Legislature. The Advocate previously reported to the Minister of Human Services. For instance, this change in reporting enables the OCYA to carry out duties impartially. These duties include advocating for children and youth receiving some government services (child intervention and youth justice services). Duties also include investigating the serious injury or death of children in care. The essence of OCYA’s work is about engaging with children and youth.

Getting Counsel

  • Calgary Legal Guidance
    Provides legal assistance, information and support to people who would not otherwise have access to such services.
  • Legal Aid Alberta
    Not everyone can afford a lawyer. Still, every Albertan deserves access to a fair legal system. As a publicly funded, non-profit organization, Legal Aid Alberta provides affordable legal services in family law, domestic violence, child welfare, immigration, and youth and adult criminal defense.
  • Pro Bono Law Alberta
    Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) is a nonprofit charitable organization. Promotes access to justice in Alberta. Does so by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means.
  • University of Calgary Student Legal Assistance
    Student Legal Assistance (SLA) provides free legal information and representation to low-income residents of Calgary and the surrounding area. Operating since 1979, SLA is a non-profit, registered charitable organization. Staffed primarily by current University of Calgary law students. Under the guidance of Executive Director and a team of advising lawyers, student caseworkers are responsible for client intake and file management. Done so while pursuing their full-time Juris-Doctorate education. Additionally, SLA’s student team of approximately 100 caseworkers also consists of an elected student executive team lead by Student Director.

Legal Resources

  • Canadian Bar Association
    The leaders and the voice of Canada’s legal profession. Promote a fair justice system, facilitate effective law reform and uphold equality in the legal profession. Devoted to eliminating discrimination. One of the premier providers of quality legal training and information. Association represents an estimated 36,000 lawyers, notaries, judges, law teachers, and law students across Canada.

Our Association represents some 36,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers and law students from across Canada. Actively engage with the Canadian legal community in matters of common interest and mutual benefit.  Partner with leading thinkers and innovators within the legal profession. Disseminate knowledge about global and national trends affecting your work. Dedicated to supporting the rule of law and improving the administration of justice in Canada.  The voice of Canada’s legal community.

Family Law Resources

  • Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
    • The mission: to engage the public in promoting, accessing, and enhancing justice in Canada.
    • Goals and aim: to be a centre of excellence in the theory and practice of public legal education.
    • The mandate: to contribute to, advance and promote the legal knowledge and education of the people of Canada.
  • Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta – Family Law
    The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has sole jurisdiction over divorce and the division of property in the Province of Alberta. Moreover, it presides over matters involving child and spousal support, as well as child custody and access.
  • Department of Justice – Family Law
    Divorce and separation are some of the most stressful situations a family can experience. With complete information and support, you can get your situation under control. Additionally, they provide general information to those in need. Family law is complex, however. You are encouraged to contact a lawyer for help with family law issues.
  • Dispute Resolution Officer Program
    The Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) Program is mandatory for all applications for child support in the Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench. If both parties agree, DRO meetings are also available on a voluntary basis. After that, they are available for applications for child support made in the Provincial Court. You’ll meet with an officer for a one hour appointment.  The officer is a family lawyer who will calculate child support amounts and help you to resolve your child support dispute. If an agreement is reached, a Consent Order can be typed up to be signed and then be reviewed by a judge, without having to go to court.

Family Services

  • Family Justice Services
    Dealing with separation, divorce and other family issues does not mean you are alone. There are family justice services available for gathering information and resolving issues without the need for court. Family justice services are listed on the website, sorted by provincial or territorial government.The federal Department of Justice helps the provinces and territories pay for these programs. In many cases, these services may refer you to additional services in your community that may meet your needs. The website provides general information as family law is complex. Contacting a lawyer for family law issues is encouraged.
  • Family Law Court Forms
    Court forms information coordinators are available to assist with locating court forms. Also provides information on when to use them and how to fill them out.

Government Programs

  • Government of Alberta: Divorce and Separation
    Divorce, separation and annulment, child custody and parental access, child, spousal and partner support, and parenting after separation.
  • Government of Alberta Resolution and Court Administration Services
    Resolution and Court Administration Services (RCAS) is a group of programs and services offered by the Government of Alberta, Justice and Solicitor General in collaboration with the courts of Alberta. For example, RCAS staff work to:

    • help find solutions for legal issues
    • offer programs at no cost or a nominal charge
    • provide services across Alberta
    • provide administrative support to all the courts within the province
  • Law Society of Alberta
    The Law Society of Alberta regulates the legal profession in the public interest by promoting and enforcing a high standard of professional and ethical conduct by Alberta lawyers. Additionally, they derive their authority from the Legal Profession Act of Alberta and set out standards through a Code of Conduct and the Rules of the Law Society of Alberta. They do not provide legal advice on specific cases. They do, however, actively work with members of the justice system to improve the administration of justice for all Albertans.

Legal Education

  • Law Society of Alberta: Glossary of Legal Terms
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta
    Since inception, LESA has developed over 850 continuing legal education programs and courses. Accounts for an estimated 125,000 attendees over roughly 2000 sessions. Nearly 4500 books sold in the Practice Manual series – not counting regular updates – along with thousands of other publications. The flagship, Annual Refresher Course, which pre-dates the organization’s formation, celebrated its 40th anniversary in May of 2007.A continued focus on delivering face-to-face legal education and educational resources to the entire spectrum of Alberta legal community. The organization is supported by hundreds of loyal volunteers, assisted by a team of dedicated professionals, and respected for its across Canada.
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta – Family Law
    Legal representatives regularly support clients during some of their most stressful and difficult times. The Legal Education Society of Alberta is meant to lend support during challenging times. Similarly, they offer training and information in a wide range of Family Law areas.
  • Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
    Two family law professors developed guidelines to make spousal support more consistent and predictable. All of this with the aid of Department of Justice funding. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines suggest appropriate ranges of support in a variety of situations for spouses entitled to support. Entitlement support depends on how the law applies to the situation. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not law. Judges do, however, often base their decisions about spousal support on said guidelines. Many family lawyers use the guidelines when helping clients make decisions and to set up spousal support agreements out of court.

Personal Counselling and Family Services

  • Calgary Family Services
    A social profit agency dedicated to creating strong families and communities for generations.
  • Carya Calgary
    Since 1910, Carya has been providing support to individuals and families through counselling, education, community development and in-home assistance, school-based support and more. These services help thousands of Calgarians every year to realize their potential and build meaningful and thriving relationships in their families and communities.

Counselling Services

  • Calgary Counselling Centre
    Meant to help people learn to thrive. Drive to provide the best counselling treatment possible anywhere, at any time. The clinical staff of over 20 provide world-class individual and group counselling services and programs. For instance, over 100 volunteers and dozens of committed donors that make the services possible.

They measure progress and know that counsellors help people achieve their goals with unmatched results. Additionally, they are committed to providing the best counselling possible. Help clients to achieve better emotional, psychological and social well-being. Most importantly, they train the next generation of counsellors so more people in the community have the right knowledge and skills to do the same.

Recognized as a Centre of Excellence in research. The evidence-based work propels the practice, informs the treatment methods and improves the quality of service.

  • YWCA Counselling Services
    Whether parent or children, everyone needs support from time to time. YW works to create healthy family dynamics. Above all, they do so by supporting connections and helping clients develop beneficial strategies. Strategies promote mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and resiliency. Family counselling provides a safe and supportive environment for women and their families to build stronger relationships and a healthy future. Women, children and men in family counselling can also access individual or group counselling sessions.

Emergency Resources

  • Alberta SPCA
    The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Alberta SPCA) is a registered charity dedicated to the welfare of animals. Encourage the humane treatment of animals through enforcement of animal protection legislation and through education programs throughout Alberta. The Alberta SPCA has been at the forefront of animal welfare advances since being established in 1959. Firstly, they were instrumental in establishing the Animal Protection Act of Alberta in 1967, which is among the best animal protection legislation in Canada. Secondly, they work closely with other agencies in animal welfare, agriculture, education, violence prevention and other areas. Finally, their aim to provide the best level of protection for animals. The Alberta SPCA is a charitable organization governed by a volunteer board of directors. For instance, they operate with the support of members, donors, volunteers and the public through reports of suspected animal abuse and neglect. All donations to the Alberta SPCA are used to support programs in Alberta.
  • John Howard Society of Alberta
    The John Howard Society of Alberta is a non-profit agency concerned with the problem of crime and its prevention. The organization takes its name and spirit, for instance, from the 18th century humanitarian John Howard, whose name has become a symbol of humane consideration for prisoners. It was incorporated in 1949, and today the organization consists of seven separately incorporated districts along with the Provincial Office. Furthermore, they believe that crime control is as much the responsibility of the community as it is of government. Through involvement with the John Howard Society, as members or volunteers, people in the community play an active role in the criminal justice process. This is achieved, in other words, through programs for offenders and their families, ex-offenders, young persons and the public.

Police Services

  • Calgary Police Service
  • RCMP
    The scope of the RCMP’s federal policing mandate is comprehensive. Includes combating terrorism, organized crime, and specific crimes related to the illicit drug trade; economic crimes such as counterfeiting and credit card fraud; and, finally, offences that threaten the integrity of Canada’s national borders. The RCMP protects VIPs, including the Prime Minister and foreign dignitaries. They also provide the law enforcement community with a full range of computer-based security services. For instance, there are approximately 300 Regular Members working to fulfill the RCMP’s federal mandate in Alberta.
  • Reporting Child Abuse
    The Calgary Police Service’s Child Abuse Unit investigates all cases of sexual abuse of children, as well as cases of severe physical abuse.

Shelters

  • Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter
    The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is focused on ending family violence and abuse in the lives of women, children, youth and men. Most importantly, they have been taking a stand against family violence in the community since 1974, the agency has helped close to 230,000 Calgarians build safe lives and healthy relationships. Additionally, they are on the front lines to provide hope and support to some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
  • Alberta Council of  Women’s  Shelters
    Together, ACWS and member shelters work to end domestic violence – in homes and throughout Alberta’s communities. Domestic violence remains a serious and urgent problem in Alberta, however. Furthermore, ACWS continues to lead change to challenge the harmful beliefs and actions that perpetuate domestic violence in our communities.
  • Family Violence Prevention
    Activities and resources to help prevent family violence and domestic violence. Furthermore, they aim to support healthy relationships as well.
  • YWCA Sheriff King Home Shelter
    YW Sheriff King Home is a short-stay crisis shelter for women and their children leaving domestic abuse and violence. For example, the shelter provides basic needs, including food and personal items. They provide individual domestic abuse counselling and support. Furthermore, during their stay and afterwards, women and children can also access one-on-one support and referrals. Lastly, the support and referrals are to help children understand and make sense of their experiences and feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

Law

Legislation

  • Alberta Child Support Guidelines
    These guidelines calculate child support for actions brought under the Alberta Family Law Act. (generally the same numbers as the Federal, for example)
  • Alberta Rules of Court
    Rules that set out how court applications in the Court of Queen’s bench are run. For example, everything from page limits, service, timing of applications, etc.
  • Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act
    Act that deals with child welfare issues. For example, child Services
  • Divorce Act
    Sets out how a divorce proceeding will be run. For example, allows application for parenting time, decision making, child support, spousal support, etc.
  • Dower Act
    Provides a spouse with a life estate in a homestead property owned in the sole name of the other spouse. In addition, sets out penalties for disposing of the property without consent/release of these rights.
  • Family Law Act
    Alberta’s family law legislation. Applies to unmarried couples, for example, or couples who are not seeking a divorce at that time. For example, parenting time, decision making, child support, partner support, etc.
  • Federal Child Support Guidelines
    Calculates child support for cases falling under the Divorce Act.
  • Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act
    Handles procedure for child support applications that go across provinces.
  • Law of Property Act
    Deals with laws relating to property (in general) in Alberta. For example, transfers, sales, encroachments, etc.
  • Marriage Act
    This act deals with legal technicalities about marriage. For example, who can perform a marriage, who can get married, what makes a marriage void/voidable, etc.
  • Matrimonial Property Act
    MPA (separation Dec 31, 2019 and before), FPA (separations Jan 1, 2020 and later) . These deal with the division of property at separation.

Finding Case Law and Legislation

  • Alberta Queen’s Printer
    Alberta Queen’s Printer is the official publisher of Alberta’s laws and the Alberta Gazette. Additionally, they partner with Government of Alberta ministries to produce and distribute various government publications. They work to ensure you have accurate, up to date access to current legislation. Furthermore, these come in a variety of formats to meet your needs.
  • Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
    The CanLII.org website provides access to court judgments from all Canadian courts. That includes the Supreme Court of Canada, federal courts, and the courts in all Canada’s provinces and territories, for example. CanLII started by publishing current cases in the early 2000s. Courts and tribunals sent these as they were written. For most Canadian courts, their collection now spans more than 18 years of these organically acquired cases. For instance, they have completed several projects to add historical cases. Above all, the goal is to offer a quality resource for jurisprudence for access to Canadian law. Additionally, see this page to learn about our more recent additions of historical cases. To see more detail about what our databases contain, please see this page.
  • Supreme Court of Canada Judgments
    The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada’s final court of appeal. It serves Canadians by deciding legal issues of public importance. Therefore, it contributes to the development of all branches of law applicable within Canada. The independence of the Court, quality of work, and its esteem are key. Furthermore, they contribute to a foundation for a secure, strong and democratic country founded on the Rule of Law. In accordance with the Supreme Court Act, the Supreme Court of Canada consists of nine judges, including the Chief Justice of Canada. It is an important national institution that is positioned at the pinnacle Canada’s judicial branch.