5 Best Calgary Divorce Tips by our senior Calgary family lawyer Peter Graburn are designed to help you and your new family unit move forward successfully after a Calgary divorce.
In a previous article on Calgary Separation Agreements, we noted that 38% of Canadian marriages end in divorce. Our Calgary separation agreement lawyers know some separating couples seek to resolve their family issues at the end of their relationship (ie. regarding children, financial support or division of property) through out-of-court processes: Mediation, Arbitration or Collaborative Law. But sometimes separating spouses cannot agree on things (even agreeing on proceeding to resolve their differences through these out-of-court processes) and instead end up having to resolve their differences through the court process. This is a Contested Divorce. We present the following 5 Best Calgary Divorce Tips to help you succeed in your Calgary divorce claim. Contact our Best Calgary divorce tips lawyers today.
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A Contested Divorce is where one spouse applies to the Court for divorce on certain terms and the other spouse does not agree to those terms. The other spouse cannot stop the couple from getting divorced (provided one of the three grounds for divorce under the federal Divorce Act have occurred) but can contest the terms applied for. The application for divorce will then proceed through the Court process to have those differences resolved by a Judge (Justice).
But what are the procedural steps the separating couples must go through in an Alberta Contested Divorce? While each case is different and may not always proceed the same way, there are 5 basic procedural steps in a Contested Divorce in Alberta. Here are our procedural 5 Best Calgary Divorce Tips:
- Step 1 – Filing a Statement of Claim – the first step in a Calgary Alberta Contested Divorce is to file with the Court and have personally served on the other spouse a Statement of Claim for Divorce (and Division of Matrimonial Property if there is accumulated property) (Form FL-03). This form sets out the details of the parties and their marriage, the grounds for divorce and (very briefly) what the party is asking for. The other party has a very short time to respond to this claim by filing their Statement of Defence (Form FL-04) or Demand of Notice (Form 13), or may file their Counterclaim;
- Step 2 – Financial Disclosure – disclosure of complete financial information between both spouses in a fundamental step in Contested Divorce proceedings. This is compelled by filing and serving a Notice to Disclose / Application (Form FL – 17). While the Statement of Claim does not set a specific date for hearing in Court, the Notice to Disclose / Application does set a date for the matter of financial disclosure to be heard in court if the parties have not provided that information by the Court date;
- Step 3 – Interim Orders and Settlement Offers – once complete financial disclosure has been exchanged, the parties may bring court applications for interim (temporary) Court Orders regarding children or financial support or may exchange settlement offers regarding the division of matrimonial property. Formal Offers to Settle (Form 22) may be exchanged to start the double-cost consequences of not accepting a reasonable settlement proposal;
- Step 4 – Questioning and Discovery – if the parties cannot agree on a settlement, they will then need to start to accumulate the facts and evidence necessary to prove their claims at Trial. This can be obtained either orally by conducting Questioning (previously called Examinations for Discovery) of the other party under oath before a Court Reporter, or in writing by exchanging Notices to Admit Facts and/or Written Interrogatories:
- Step 5 – Trial – if the parties have not been able to come to a complete agreement on their Contested Divorce matters before Trial (many Contested Divorces settle ‘on the Courthouse steps’ before Trial}, the matter will proceed to trial. Canadian Trials are very formal and procedural matters (they are not like the old-TV series “Perry Mason” where the surprise witness confesses all at the end!) – witnesses are called; documentary evidence and the law is presented; the Justice makes a final decision on the disputed issues based on the law and evidence presented in Court.
The unfortunate reality in family law is that if separating spouses cannot agree to resolve their differences at the end of their relationship through out-of-court processes (mediation, arbitration, collaborative law), the only other process to resolve these issues is through the Contested Divorce (Court) process and we hope our Calgary Alberta Contested Divorce lawyers can make things move forward with as minimal acrimony as is possible.
Best Calgary Family Lawyers Strategies
The 5 Best Calgary Divorce Tips set out above only begin to describe the Contested Divorce process – it is much more detailed and procedural than described above. Separating spouses do not need a lawyer to represent them in the Contested Divorce (Court) process – they may be self – represented (ie. act for themselves). But experienced family law lawyers know the documents, processes, and law and so are skilled in resolving Calgary divorce disputes more cheaply, quickly and satisfactorily than if a party is self-represented. Cutting corners on a Calgary Divorce case can cost you far more than hiring a top Calgary family lawyer.
Calgary Contested Divorce Lawyers help their clients navigate the numerous procedural steps required to resolve their family disputes, and obtain the best possible result of having to go to Court to resolve those family disputes.