Consult with an Lawyer: Seek the advice of a qualified family law lawyer in your area. They can provide guidance on the specific laws and procedures that apply to your case. At Wells Family Law, we offer a free 30-minute consult to discuss your matter and go through cost estimates. While we do not have a magic ball to know how much your divorce will cost, we can give you cost ranges if it is a simple to complex divorce, if the matter is high conflict, if there are children involved, and general court costs.

Gather Your Financial Information: This first step is to know the financial situation of you and your spouse. A lawyer will ask you to collect information about your assets, debts, income, and expenses, this is called Disclosure. You may have also been served with a Notice to Disclose to which you will have 30 days to respond. This information will be essential for the division of property and determining spousal/partner or child support. If you are self-employed, make sure to contact your accountant as they will have valuable information needed.

Establish Grounds for Divorce: In Canada, there are three grounds for Divorce, Separation, Adultery and Cruelty. Separation is when you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 1 year before a divorce judgment is granted. You can, however, start the divorce process as soon as you separate during the 1-year period but you must wait until the year has passed to file for divorce. For the grounds of adultery and cruelty, evidence is required. Contact Wells Family Law for more information.

File a Statement of Claim for Divorce: Your lawyer will assist you in preparing and filing the necessary legal documents to initiate the divorce proceedings. This document may include Division of Family Property.

Serve Divorce Papers: After filing, your spouse needs to be formally served with the divorce papers. This is typically done by a process server or qualified third party. You will need to file an Affidavit of Service with the Court.

Response from Spouse: Your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to the Statement of Claim for Divorce. They may agree with the terms or contest various issues. Their Statement of Defence is due within 20 days of service of the Statement of Claim.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Many divorces involve negotiations to settle issues such as property division, spousal support, parenting, and child support. Mediation is also an option to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral third party. The Alberta Courts mandate that a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution is completed prior to bringing any court application. This could include a four-way settlement meeting, mediation with Family Court services, mediation with counsellor and mediation/arbitration.

Separation Agreement: You and your spouse may be able to negotiate and resolve your issues with a separation agreement. You will each be required to seek Independent Legal Advice to properly affect your separation agreement.

Court Proceedings: If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court. A judge will make decisions on unresolved issues based on the evidence presented. If the matter involves property, this matter will take place in the Alberta Court of King’s Bench.

Finalize the Divorce: Once all issues are resolved, the divorce can be finalized. This typically involves the court issuing a divorce judgment.

Post-Divorce Considerations: Update your legal documents, such as wills, insurance policies, and beneficiary designations. If you have children, work out parenting arrangements including a holiday schedule.

Remember, it’s crucial to seek legal advice specific to your situation. Everything situation is fact specific and what worked for your friend may not work for you. A lawyer can help guide you through the process.

Contact us at Wells Family Law today.