In Alberta, an uncontested divorce is defined as a desk order divorce. This means that neither party is contesting the divorce.
The divorce process in Alberta may take approximately 2-3 months before the court enters a divorce judgment. This allows time for:
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.
To file for divorce you can either do it yourself or you can solicit a service to file for divorce for you.
Self-representing in matrimonial issues is common if the couple is unable to mediate or negotiate together and they do not want to hire a lawyer to represent them. A person who chooses to self-represent is acting on behalf of himself or herself before a court.
This booklet explains how to make an application in court in Alberta.
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
This booklet explains what constitutes an Adult Interdependent Relationship 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.
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.
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.
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.
Children under the age of majority in BC, which is 19, may not be eligible for child support if they voluntarily leave their parents' home for reasons other than family violence or intolerable living conditions or if they get married.
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:
The age of majority in Alberta is 18 years of age.
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.
This booklet explains what constitutes an Adult Interdependent Relationship 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.
A couple is considered to be in an “Adult Interdependent Relationship” if that couple is in a relationship of interdependence with another adult:
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:
These two statutes are similar, but have some differences.
Both the Divorce Act (Canada) and the Family Law Act (Alberta) discuss the objectives of a spousal support order. The objectives are to:
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.
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.
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.
This booklet explains the law around financial support in Alberta around child and spousal support.
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.
Matrimonial Property in Alberta (with a few exceptions) is the property and debts that have been acquired during the marriage.
It also includes debts such as:
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.
There are items that are not part of matrimonial property in Alberta and are therefore not divided. These include items such as:
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:
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.
This booklet explains the law around property division when a relationship ends in Alberta.
Divorce mediation is a significantly less expensive and time-consuming method of settling your differences than going to court would be. You will sit together with a neutral third party to come to an agreement on all issues involved with dissolving your marriage, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. Mediation may be either closed or open.
This type of divorce resolution depends on the cooperation of both parties. The mediator acts as a guide, ensuring that all topics are discussed, and as a communication facilitator. However, he or she does not act in a legal role for either party, and will not give legal advice. The mediator also is not a judge, and will not settle disagreements. Therefore, both parties are advised to understand the law as it applies to their case and to receive independent legal advice before signing any final agreement.
Successful divorce mediation creates a non-binding, written agreement that forms the basis of the separation agreement that may be filed with the court. If approved, it becomes a legally binding contract with the same enforcement procedures as a court order.
Divorce mediation is not for everyone, as it does require the ability and willingness to work cooperatively. However, our proprietary process, which brings together a variety of professionals to help you and your ex stay on track, has helped many contentious couples reach a settlement that is fair and equitable for both parties. When possible, divorce resolution through mediation is generally the best choice, as it is significantly faster and less expensive than working your way through the court system.
Deals with divorce, as well as claims for child and spousal support, and custody and access, in divorce cases.
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: Matrimonial Property PDF
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: Maintenance Enforcement Act PDF
The Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) collects court-ordered child support, spousal and partner support, and enforces as needed.