Do you need to use a divorce lawyer to obtain a divorce in Calgary?

The answer to such a question will depend upon how many issues the parties are disputing and how comfortable the parties are with handling their divorce themselves. In most divorce actions, the parties will be dealing with the issues of custody and access to the children, child support, spousal support and division of matrimonial property. While many people believe that such issues are straightforward, in my experience, many people do not understand how the Court will actually decide such issues. As all cases are different, asking friends, that have obtained a divorce, what they did in their situation is unlikely to provide a definitive answer as to what you should do in your situation. It

If I am seeking a divorce in Calgary, must I attend the Parenting After Separation Course?

The Parenting After Separation Course is a course that has been set up to assist parents that are separating, or are getting a divorce in Calgary. Course topics include: building relationships, how separation affects parents, how separation affects children, communication skills, legal issues, alternative dispute resolutions and parenting plans. The Parenting After Separation Course may be attended in person, or may be taken online. This is a link to the Parenting After Separation Course's website: Parenting After Separation Course. Attending the course "in person" takes 6 hours. Once the course has been completed, a Certificate of Completion is issued. The Plaintiff in a divorce action m

What are the Maintenance Enforcement Program and the Recalculation Program?

In Alberta, those that have Court Orders, or written agreements, that specify the amount of child support that is to be payable, may be able to register those documents with the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) and the Recalculation Program (RP). Unfortunately, not all Court Orders or written agreements are capable of being registered with MEP or RP and you will need to send such documents to MEP or RP for a determination as to whether they fall within the program. Sometimes, when a person separates from their spouse or former partner, they sign a document that is typically called a "Separation Agreement." When former spouses divorce, they normally obtain a Divorce Judgment and Coro

How often should child support be recalculated?

In an ideal world, child support should be recalculated each time the parties' incomes change. This is because a change in income will almost certainly result in a change to the parties' share of section 7 expenses, and will impact the base child support that should be paid, if the payor's income changes. Of course, a change to the access or parenting of the children may also result in the base child support having to be recalculated. If the child support is being paid pursuant to a Court Order, or a written agreement that was prepared with the assistance of a family lawyer, the Order or the agreement will specify the incomes of the parties so as to give an indication as to why the child sup

How long will it take to obtain my divorce in Calgary?

Unfortunately, there is not a straightforward answer to this question. To commence a divorce action in Calgary, one must file either a Statement of Claim for Divorce (SOC) or, if division of matrimonial property is an issue, a Statement of Claim for Divorce and Division of Matrimonial Property. The SOC sets out the claims that the party (called the Plaintiff) wishes to make for custody and access to the children, child support and spousal support. This document must then be served upon the other party (called the Defendant). The Defendant then has a specific period of time to file a response to the SOC depending upon where the Defendant was when s/he was served. The amount of time the De

What is a Dispute Resolution Officer?

A Dispute Resolution Officer ("DRO") is a senior family lawyer. To apply to become a DRO, one has to have practised family law for at least 10 years. DROs, usually, still practice family law and they volunteer their time to assist those that require their help. Anyone can book a 1 hour session with a DRO. The session is free and can be used to assist with issues such as custody and access/parenting, child support, spousal support or division of property. It is not a requirement that an Application has to be contemplated before a session with a DRO is booked. In Calgary, it is mandatory to have to have a session with a DRO if one is the Applicant in a claim for child support and if the Ap

How can I make a claim for child support in Calgary?

Whether you are going through a divorce or a separation, arguably one of the most straightforward Court Applications to make is one for an Order for child support. Child support is based upon two things: the parenting or access schedule of the child(ren), and the incomes of the parties. The amount of base child support is determined by using the gross income of the non-custodial parent and applying that figure to either the Federal Child Support Guidelines or the Alberta Child Support Guidelines. This is a link that can be used to determine the monthly base child support payments the non-custodial parent will pay to the custodial parent. If both parents parent the child(ren) for at least 40

Custody and Access

It has been my experience that many people do not fully understand what custody and access mean. Custody and access are the terms used by the Divorce Act and, therefore, only applies to married couples. In essence, custody is the term used by the Court, to people involved in divorce proceedings, when referring to which of the parties has the ability to make the day to day decisions that affect the lives of the children. For example, where the children live, what school they go to, which religion they practise. Access is the term used by the Court, to people involved in divorce proceedings, when the Court decides when each of the parties have the children. Many people use the term "custod

New Website is now live!

As many of you are aware, I am a divorce and family lawyer practising in the city of Calgary. I help individuals with issues that they have with divorce, separation, custody and access, child support, spousal support and division of matrimonial property. It is my intention to continually update this blog with articles that I hope many people will find informative.