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Will my spouse have to consent to my divorce in Calgary?

As a divorce lawyer in Calgary, I am frequently asked by clients: Does my spouse have to consent to my divorce in Calgary?

The answer usually surprises clients as they almost always believe that their spouse will have to "sign" the divorce papers.

If the divorce is uncontested, your spouse will not have to provide consent for your divorce to proceed. "Uncontested" in this article means that your spouse files no papers with the Court after they are served with the Court documents that start the divorce.

Once a party is served with these documents, they have a specific period of time in which to file papers with the Court. If they are served in Alberta, they have 20 days, if they are served outside of Alberta, but within Canada, they have 1 month, and if they are served outside of Canada, they have 2 months. If they do not do so, you will be able to file an additional document with the Court that will prevent them from doing so, unless they make an Application to the Court for permission to do so.

This is permitted because the Court assumes that, if no defence is filed, your spouse agreed with the claims you were making to the Court. As long as the final documents you file with the Court match the claims you made in your original document, the Court will allow your Application for a divorce to proceed without requiring any further involvement from your spouse.

If your spouse files a Statement of Defence, or a Demand for Notice, your spouse, or their lawyer, will normally have to agree to any Divorce Judgment you file with the Court when you make your Application for a Divorce Judgment, and indicate their agreement by signing the Divorce Judgment. If the are not willing to do so, you will have to go to trial so that the Court can decide the issues notwithstanding the fact that they do not agree with the claims you are making.

In my experience, very few spouses disagree with the granting of a divorce. However, lots of couples are unable to agree upon custody and access to the children, child support, spousal support and the division of matrimonial property. However, while this may be the case when the proceedings start, usually, couples are able to make the necessary compromises so that their divorces are able to be obtained within 2 years of the process starting.

If you would like to discuss with me any of the issues raised above, or if you have any questions regarding division of property, child support, spousal support, separation, divorce, custody and access, or guardianship and parenting, please call me on 403-538-2105, or contact me via email using this link.

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