Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Divorce Lawyers Protect Your Rights in Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

There are two kinds of divorce: contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce, such as custody and access, child support, spousal support and property division. A contested divorce may be costly as parties often have to make multiple Court applications and sometimes end up in trial. At Resolve Legal Group, we will work with you to determine whether the Court system or other alternative dispute resolution is best for you. In a contested divorce, we work closely with you to understand the nature of the disputes and what your expectations are with respect to the outcomes. Our team of family lawyers offer multiple approaches to resolving your disputes, including mediation and litigation. We are committed to obtaining the best available outcome for you in the most cost-effective manner.

In an uncontested divorce, the parties have reached an agreement on all issues and do not require the Court to make any decisions about the terms of the divorce; the only remaining matter is to draft the agreement and file the divorce with the Courts. The uncontested divorce process moves much faster through the system and creates less of a financial burden on the parties. In the event that your divorce is uncontested, our lawyers can assist you with drafting your agreement or reviewing an existing agreement. By reviewing an existing agreement, our family lawyers will determine if your existing agreement will be binding in Court and whether the agreement protects your interests. If we did not draft the agreement, we will advise you of any provisions that could place you at risk. In drafting these agreements, our divorce lawyers use language that clearly communicates the decisions you and your spouse have negotiated to ensure that your agreements are binding today and in the future.

In your divorce, having qualified legal representation is essential to the protection of your interests. Even in the most amicable divorce, the assistance of a qualified and experienced lawyer can help to ensure a favourable outcome in either a contested divorce. The lawyers at Resolve Legal Group offer our clients comprehensive representation in all aspects of divorce. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, our lawyers will conduct a thorough review of your situation and advise you of legal options specific to your unique case.

Did you know that independent legal advice is one of the requirements for an existing agreement to be legally binding? Make an appointment with one of our family law lawyers to review your existing agreement and receive the independent legal advice you need.

Contact us at 403-229-2365 (Calgary Office) or 403-907-0251 (Cochrane Office) to schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer regarding your divorce options.

Divorce/Separation


We all go through many transitions in our lives; however, divorce is a transition that none of us expect to go through, especially when we enter a relationship that we believe will last forever. Often, people going through divorce or separation are flooded with a variety of emotions such as guilt, anger, sadness, disappointment, and loneliness which only adds to the difficulty of moving forward through the process. Divorce and separation can be an extremely stressful and challenging transition. To further complicate matters and compound that stress is the task of dividing the finances of one family into two. There are many questions facing an individual going through a divorce or separation, such as: where the children will live, what will happen to our home, how will we be able to make ends meet, what will happen with our children, and more. The list can be endless.

It is important to retain the services of a lawyer with whom you have a “good fit,” as you need to be able to rely on and trust your lawyer to guide you through what is often one of the most difficult processes that an individual can experience. At Resolve Legal Group it is our mandate to ensure that our practice remains client-centered, keeping our client’s needs at the forefront of any plan of action that we proceed with, and solution focused, meaning we strive to incorporate risk management strategies within our action plans and deliver the most efficient and cost effective services possible.

Division of Common Law Property


Did you know that there is currently no legislation in Alberta to regulate the division of property between unmarried couples? This means that separating couples have no statutory guidance on how to split their assets, which can result in more animosity and lengthier court proceedings. Thankfully, this is about to change. The Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 received Royal Assent on December 11, 2018, and will come into force on January 1, 2020. This legislation will make significant changes affecting how judges and other decision-makers make orders dividing family property, and will help unmarried couples make agreements dividing property.

With the changes being made, property division for some unmarried couples will be the same as the division of matrimonial property, which means that time limits may also apply, so it is highly important that you receive legal advice on your rights, liabilities, and time constraints as soon as possible.

Division of Matrimonial Property


There is a presumption in Alberta that matrimonial property, i.e. any property accumulated during the marriage, will be equally divided between the parties upon divorcing. In reality, the division may not be this simple, particularly where there are many assets and debts that have accumulated throughout the marriage. Determining what is and what isn’t “matrimonial property” can be difficult and legal advice is often required. We can advise you on the legislation that governs the division of matrimonial property and how it applies to your situation. There are time limits on making a matrimonial property claim under the legislation so it is highly important that you receive legal advice on your rights, liabilities, and time constraints as soon as possible.

Custody, Access, and Parenting


When there are children of a marriage or relationship, there can be many decisions to be made upon separating, such as where the child(ren) will live, who will make the major decisions for the child(ren), and what parenting arrangements need to be made to accommodate the child(ren)’s needs, the parents’ needs, and keep the new family unit working. We can answer all of your questions on the different types of custody arrangements and we can work with you to develop a parenting arrangement that will accommodate your family’s needs. We can help you understand the law, whether you are married or not, as it relates to custody and access.

We will also let you know what resources exist to help parents make these difficult decisions regarding custody, access, and parenting so as to minimize conflict between the parties.

Cohabitation, Prenuptial, Post Nuptial Agreements


In Alberta, parties can enter into a contract or agreement ideally (but not always) before they start living together or before they get married to settle such matters as property division, support and other rights in the event the partnership is no longer able to continue. To ensure that these agreements are fair, legal, and binding, you must see a lawyer for independent legal advice.

Mobility


After separation or divorce, it is common for one party to wish to relocate for personal or work-related reasons. Where there are children, the issue of mobility becomes a concern in almost every situation. Both parents must consent to the relocation of a child in a joint custodial situation. If parents cannot agree on the relocation of the child with the primary caregiver, legal assistance will be needed. We have experience in representing provincial, federal and international mobility arguments and can assist you in negotiation, mediation or court ordered resolution on the issue of mobility.

Child Support


Child support is not optional. All parents have an obligation to support their children while they are under the age of majority (and sometimes longer) when they separate from the other parent, whether they were married or not. Support is determined in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which take into account income of the paying parent, where that parent resides, and the number of children. Parents can also be obligated to pay additional support for the children, which may include costs for daycare and other extraordinary expenses; these are referred to as section 7 expenses. Parents may also be obligated to pay support for children who are over the age of majority if they are continuing their education or if they are unable to support themselves by reason of illness or disability. We can help you understand the rules and tables that make up the Guidelines so as so ensure you are paying or receiving the appropriate amount of support for your children. We can also advise you on what to do if you are not receiving the appropriate amount of support. We also provide direction on enforcing child support court orders and assistance with how to ensure that child support is recalculated and adjusted when there are changes to the income of the parties.

Spousal or Partner Support


There is no automatic entitlement to spousal/partner support when you get a divorce or separate from a partner. An agreement can either be made between the parties or a Court can decide if a party is entitled to support, and if so, how much support they are entitled to and for how long. There any many factors that must be addressed to establish entitlement to support and there are many objectives that affect the amount and duration of support. We can help you understand this very difficult area of law that has been established through legislative recognition and case law. There are also Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines which have been introduced to help us determine amount and duration; these guidelines act as a reference point to assist individuals in determining a range of appropriate support, but they are not mandatory calculations under the law. We strongly recommend that you receive legal advice before you agree to pay or receive any amount of support.

Adoption


If you are seeking to officially adopt a child who has been in your care, a step-child, or a child for whom you have acted in loco parentis (in the place of a parent), we can assist you in understanding the Court process, the information required, and the timelines for processing an Application for Adoption.

Grandparents Rights


During the breakdown of a relationship or marriage, a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild(ren) may be affected. Are you a grandparent who does not have access to your grandchild(ren)? Are you concerned about their safety or well-being? No matter what concerns a grandparent may have, we are able to provide advice on your rights as a grandparent under the Alberta legislative framework.