Divorce, parentage, guardianship, spousal support, child support… all family law issues that can become complex and stressful.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that matters such as these change lives forever.
When the stakes are so high, it helps to know that your family lawyer has the experience to guide and support you through challenging times.
We help our clients confront difficult family matters with our experience of handling cases in the Airdrie area and our firm understanding of all the relevant state and provincial laws.
For most family law matters, we look to the Alberta Family Law Act for legislative guidance.
It helps to determine the following:
Divorces are the exception to the rule with the Family Law Act. While it does address child support, spousal support, and parenting issues, a separate piece of federal legislation governs most other divorce matters in Alberta.
The Divorce Act is the legislation used to guide married couples looking to create divorce agreements in Alberta.
It helps couples to make a separation permanent with informed decisions and covers the following matters, amongst others:
If emotions or conflicting interests never entered divorce settlements, the process would be relatively simple.
Unfortunately, we all know that’s not possible.
It is possible, however, to ensure that the process is easier, less stressful, and working in your favour with the help of experienced divorce lawyers.
We’ve helped many couples in the Airdrie and Calgary area divorce amicably and without unnecessary delays.
Of course, divorce is a legal process that does take some time. Nothing gets rushed through the Alberta courts. But if you and your partner can agree on the fundamentals of the divorce agreement (child custody, child/spousal support, and property division), everything else can follow relatively smoothly.
A process of collaboration, mediation or arbitration can keep you out of the courts. Despite the TV dramas you have probably seen, few divorces end up in bitter and expensive court battles and sensible alternatives to litigation exist in most cases.
Before you consider starting the divorce process in Airdrie, bear in mind some fundamentals regarding divorces:
Remember, no divorce is final until the divorce decree is signed by a judge in the family courts of Alberta.
You do not need to be legally married to be covered by the provisions of the Family Law Act, including spousal support.
If you have lived together in a relationship of interdependence for at least three years, have a child together or have an Adult Interdependent Partner agreement in place, the spousal support guidelines in the Family Law Act of Alberta apply to you. The provisions of the Divorce Act apply to married spouses who separate.
Adult interdependent partner support granted under the Family Law Act can be changed but must be done so under the Family Law Act.
Note that the spousal support guidelines are recommendations only. Judges often follow the suggestions but are not obliged to do so and will adjudicate your case after discovering all the facts.
Determining parentage is another of the key legal issues that confronts families in Airdrie. Again, the parent-child relationship is defined in Alberta’s Family Law Act.
The parents of a child are considered to be the birth mother and the biological father unless an adoption has occurred or the child is conceived through assisted reproduction.
Determining who the biological father is can become complex and it helps to have the guidance of experienced family lawyers during the process.
Guardianship refers to the right to make decisions on behalf of a child and is treated separately from biological parentage under Alberta’s Family Law Act.
Standardly, a mother and father have joint guardianship over a child.
Where a legal guardian is appointed, however, this person must make decisions for the child regardless of who the biological parents are.
If you and your spouse start living apart, a parenting order may be needed if you do not agree on your respective rights and responsibilities regarding the children.
Disputes over parenting time, visitation rights, responsibilities, cost-sharing, and other matters are common during relationship breakdowns.
If you apply for a parenting order under the Family Law Act, the Alberta courts will ensure that it is in the best interests of the children.
The parenting order is a legally enforceable court order that compels each parent to comply with the terms and often sets out the resolution process for any future disputes involving the children.
The decisions in any relationship breakdown must be made in the “best interests of the child”.
This can be interpreted in different ways but, when parents do not agree, a judge will intervene and make the decisions based on the guidelines and their perspective of the situation.
In all cases, the child’s physical, psychological and emotional safety must come first and judges will consider the following factors:
Child support is awarded according to the legal obligation for parents to provide for the upbringing of their children.
A court may intervene with an enforceable court order if the parents cannot work this out equitably between themselves, applying the relevant family law guidelines for calculating child support.
With our guidance, clients make informed decisions and reduce the chance of conflict and court appearances in challenging family situations.
Jennings Family Law provides legal, mediation, and arbitration resources to use independently or with the assistance of a lawyer.
Contact us today for a confidential free consultation and case evaluation.