General

Divorce in Alberta

In Alberta, an uncontested divorce is defined as a desk order divorce. This means that neither party is contesting the divorce.

Filing for Divorce in Alberta

The divorce process in Alberta may take approximately 2-3 months before the court enters a divorce judgment. This allows time for:

  • Time for the court to obtain a divorce clearance certificate from Ottawa
  • Time for any waiting periods
  • Time for the courts to complete the processing of a divorce

Divorce filing fees in Alberta

The court filing fees for a divorce in Alberta is approximately $260. Divorce documents will be filed with the clerk of Court of Queen's Bench.

How to file for Divorce in Alberta

To file for divorce you can either do it yourself or you can solicit a service to file for divorce for you.

  • DIY divorce filing is done by obtaining the documents from the courthouse, filling out the documents together and filing the documents with the courthouse. It sounds simple. However, for couples with properties, support and children the forms are cumbersome.
  • Obtaining assistance to file for divorce requires an additional fee, however you will leave the cumbersome paperwork and court running up to the professionals. Call us to find out more about Fairway’s filing for divorce.

How to Self-Represent yourself in Alberta Family Court

Self-representing in matrimonial issues is common if the couple is unable to mediate or negotiate together and they do not want to obtain legal counsel. A person who chooses to self-represent is acting on behalf of himself or herself before a court.

Families and the Law

Representing Yourself in Family Court

http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/representingyouselfinfamilycourt.pdf

This booklet explains how to make an application in court in Alberta.

How to Self-Represent yourself in Alberta Family Court

There are many misconceptions about the term common law. In Alberta, the phrase “Adult Interdependent Relationships (AIR) is used instead of common law.

Families and the Law

Living Together - Adult Interdependent Relationships

http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/AdultInterdependentRelationships.pdf

This booklet explains what constitutes an Adult Interdependent Relationship in Alberta.

Custody, Parenting & Child Support

Child Support in Alberta

Under the Family Law Act, there is a responsibility of the parent to support the child; even in the situation that one parent does not participate in the physical care of the child/children. Child support is the legal right of the child.

The parent who the child lives with the majority of the time is entitled to receive child support from the other parent. If a child spends time equally with both parents, the parent with the higher income will most often be responsible to pay the other parent child support.

What are the child support guidelines in Alberta?

Child support in Alberta is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines follow certain rules that the courts use to set child support amounts.

The amounts are based on how much the payer earns annually and how many children the payer is paying to support. Each province has its own table and this is the table for support in Alberta.

How do you calculate child support in Alberta?

Use the Federal Child Support Guidelines to calculate the amount of child support to be paid monthly. For a quick calculation try the child support calculator.

Child Support Calculator

How is annual income calculated for child support?

To figure out the correct child support amount in the Federal Tables, you need to know the paying parent's annual income. The income for determining child support in Alberta may be different from the income for determining taxes. More information can be found on how to calculate income in the Step-by-Step Guide.

How does the Universal Child Care Benefit applt to child support?

Parents in Alberta receive the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). When parents separate, the parent who claims the child for tax purposes receives this UCCB payment. The Universal Child Care Benefit is not always included in guideline income. This benefit is not included in the income calculation when:

  • You are calculating how much each parent should pay for special expenses
  • There is a special expense for the child for whom the Universal Child Care Benefit is paid.

What is the age of majority in Alberta?

The age of majority in Alberta is 18 years of age.

Why are there Alberta Guidelines as well as Federal Child Support Guidelines?

The Federal Child Support guidelines do not assist those parents that are not making use of the Divorce Act. It is desirable to make sure that all children are treated the same for child support purposes. Therefore, the Alberta Guidelines were created as part of the Family Law Act to be used in all cases where the Divorce Act may not apply.

Families and the Law

Child Custody And Parenting Booklet

http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/ChildCustodyandParenting.pdf

This booklet explains what constitutes an Adult Interdependent Relationship in Alberta.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support in Alberta

Spousal support in Alberta is defined as financial support to assist with living expenses that is paid to a former spouse under an agreement.

When can spousal support be ordered in Alberta?

A couple is considered to be in an “Adult Interdependent Relationship” if that couple is in a relationship of interdependence with another adult:

  • For three years; or
  • For less than 3 years if you have signed an Adult Interdependent
  • Partnership agreement; or
  • For less than 3 years if the two of you have a child together.

If parties are applying for spousal support as part of a divorce, the court will apply the spousal support provisions of the Divorce Act (Canada). The court will apply the spousal support provisions of the Family Law Act if:

  • The parties are applying for spousal support after living in an Adult Interdependent Relationship; or
  • The parties were married, but have not yet started a divorce action.

These two statutes are similar, but have some differences.

What are the Objectives of Spousal Support?

Both the Divorce Act (Canada) and the Family Law Act (Alberta) discuss the objectives of a spousal support order. The objectives are to:

  • Recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses coming out of the marriage or occurring because the marriage has ended
  • Divide up any financial costs arising from the care of the children over and above the child support
  • Lessen any financial hardship of the spouses which may have taken place because of the end of the marriage
  • As much as possible, encourage the spouses to become able to support themselves within a reasonable period of time

Both statutes say that the misconduct of the parties is not to be considered when deciding whether or not to grant spousal support and the amount to be paid.

How do I calculate the amount of support to be paid?

The Support Advisory Guidelines can help spouses figure out the amount of spousal support that should be paid. The guidelines take into account the income of both spouses, length of the marriage, and whether children are involved.

MySupportCalculator.ca is a website with a support calculator and can provide an estimated dollar amount that can be adjusted based on specific circumstances.

Can I enforce the spousal support agreement in Alberta?

Once an agreement is received for spousal support, parties can enroll in the Alberta Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP). MEP is a government program that can monitor payments and can take action to assist in receiving spousal support payments. Click here to register with the Alberta MEP

For more information on Spousal Support in Alberta please review the Support Advisory Guidelines.

Families and the Law

Financial Support Booklet

http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FinancialSupport.pdf

This booklet explains the law around financial support in Alberta around child and spousal support.

Property / Financial

Property Division in Alberta

All provinces have rules regarding the division of Matrimonial Property Act, however each province is different. Be careful reading that you are looking at information about Alberta specifically.

What is considered family property in Alberta?

Matrimonial Property in Alberta (with a few exceptions) is the property and debts that have been acquired during the marriage.
This includes:

  • Vehicles
  • RRSP's
  • Pension plans
  • Bank accounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Matrimonial homes
  • Recreational property
  • Investments

It also includes debts such as:

  • Credits cards
  • Lines of credit
  • Mortgages
  • Credit cards
  • Income tax

How is property divided in Alberta?

In Alberta the total value of the property should be split equally unless it would be unconscionable to do so. This does not mean that each individual item is split (such as splitting a vehicle in half) but rather, the party who is not keeping an asset would receive half of the value of that asset in another form of payment.

Are there assets not considered matrimonial property in Alberta?

There are items that are not part of matrimonial property in Alberta and are therefore not divided. These include items such as:

  • Assets brought into the marriage
  • Inheritances
  • Gifts intended for one person
  • Personal injury settlements

However, just because a spouse received one/some of these, it doesn't automatically mean that they are exempt. It also depends on a number of factors including:

  • The current value of the item
  • If the item has decreased in value
  • If the item was sold
  • If the money was put into a joint asset or how the money was used

How is a pension divided in Alberta?

Pensions are considered property under the Matrimonial Property Act. There are two types of pensions: private pensions (by employment) and the Canada Pension Plan. Some pensions may have legislation that determines how the pension will be divided when a marriage is ending.

Families and the Law

Property Division Booklet

http://www.cplea.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/PropertyDivision.pdf

This booklet explains the law around property division when a relationship ends in Alberta.

Laws

Federal

Federal Divorce Act

Deals with divorce, as well as claims for child and spousal support, and custody and access, in divorce cases.

Provincial

Alberta's Family Law Act: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/F04P5.pdf

The Act is part of the Alberta Justice's Family Law Strategy aimed at creating a simple, integrated and effective family law system that promotes the well-being of children and families.


Maintenance Enforcement Act: http://www.slsedmonton.com/family/matrimonial-property/

The purpose of the MPA is to make sure that property is divided in a fair way between spouses when they separate. The MPA starts from a presumption that property and debts acquired by either party during the marriage are to be shared equally.


Maintenance Enforcement Act: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/M01.pdf

The Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) collects court-ordered child support, spousal and partner support, and enforces as needed.

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