Guardianship falls under the Family Law Act and refers to all of the decision making and responsibilities relating to the upbringing of a child. If the guardians cannot agree on how to make decisions about the child, a guardian should consult with a lawyer to determine their legal options.

In a divorce, custody refers to decision-making about a child. Parenting refers to time spent with the child.

Day-to-day care refers to a parenting arrangement in which the child primarily resides with one parent. Access refers to specified parenting arrangement with the parent who does not have day-to-day care.

Sole custody refers to one parent’s ability to make all of the major decisions about the child. Although the parents may consult with one another, the custodial parent makes the final decision.

Joint custody refers to both parent’s ability to make all major decisions about the children.

Shared custody is when the child resides approximately half time with each parent. The Federal Child Support Guidelines defines shared custody as the child living more than 40% of the time with each parent.

Split custody is when there are two or more children, and one or more of the children live primarily with one parent and one or more of the children live primarily with the other parent.

A child’s input, though not the determining factor, may be taken into consideration when deciding where the child should reside. Often this will depend on the age of the child and their maturity. Ultimately, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the child.

Unless you have a court Order or a notarized letter authorizing you to travel with the Children, you will require the consent of the other parent in order to travel internationally.
Domestic travel with the children can be addressed in a Court Order as well.

Yes. There is an ongoing obligation to pay child support irrespective of whether or not you see your children. If you are not seeing your children and would like to, our lawyers can assist you in this regard.

Child support is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Base child support is based on your annual gross income and the number of children. You may also be responsible for any special or extraordinary expenses incurred for the children.

You may be responsible for child support even if you are not the biological parent, if you have assumed the role of a parent for the child.

A child over the age of 18 may still be entitled to child support if he or she continues to be a dependent by reason of illness, disability or other cause.

If a parent cannot afford child support, they can apply to reduce their child support payments. In exceptional circumstances, the courts may permit a parent temporary relief from paying child support.

There may be circumstances in which you may have an obligation to each other to pay spousal support. The amount and duration of spousal support will vary depending on the income of each party, the duration of the relationship, and whether or not there are dependent children to consider. You should talk to a lawyer to see if you would be entitled, and if so, how much your spouse / partner may be ordered to pay.

Yes. As long as one of the party has been residing in Alberta for a period of at least 1 year.

There are 3 grounds to file a claim for divorce in Canada. Those are (1) one year separation; (2) adultery (by the other party); and (3) mental or physical cruelty (by the other party).

Yes, you can be separated from your spouse and live in the same residence. You will have to demonstrate that you are truly separated from your spouse by showing that you and your spouse lived separate lives and conducted your affairs separately.

If the divorce is uncontested, a divorce will usually take approximately 6 to 8 months. This is often dependent on the Court.

If you and your former spouse cannot agree on custody, access (parenting) or support, then the divorce becomes contested, and can take much longer.

Yes. There are fees associated with filing of certain court documents such as a Statement of Claim for Divorce or other Family Law Applications.

If you meet the required grounds, you may be able to ask the court to change the terms of a court Order. Our lawyers are here to assist you with this process.

Mediation is a form or alternative dispute resolution. It is a voluntary process whereby two or more parties attend a meeting in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. The parties meet with a mediator who must be neutral and whose purpose is to facilitate the discussion and assist the parties come to a resolution. The mediator does not have the authority to make binding decisions.

Generally, if both parties attend mediation in good faith and with the intention of resolving their issues, there are many benefits to mediation:
Less time consuming;
More cost effective;
Decision is reached by the parties themselves as opposed to a third party;
Confidential; and
Not bound by the rules of court and more flexible.

Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution whereby two or more parties attend a meeting in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. If the parties are not able to reach a resolution, the arbitrator may make a decision on one or more of the issues. This decision is binding and may be entered as a Court Order.

Yes. Generally, it is beneficial for a party to attend mediation or arbitration with a lawyer as they will be available to apply the law to the legal issues that arise and provide advice about the parties’ respective legal rights and obligations.

JDR is another form of alternative dispute resolution whereby two or more parties attend a meeting with a judge to reach a settlement of the legal issues. A JDR may be non-binding in which case the judge does not have the authority to make a binding decision. If a settlement is reached between the parties, the judge is able to grant an order that makes the decision legal. In Provincial Court, a non-binding JDR is a requirement in most family law matters.

A JDR may be binding in which case the judge may encourage settlement but in the absence of which has the authority to make a biding decision.

DISCLAIMER: The content on this web site, including this FAQ page is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this web site are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of MM Family & Divorce Lawyers (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. MM Family & Divorce Lawyers does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this web site.

Accessing or using this web site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the web site may facilitate access to or communications with members of MM Family & Divorce Lawyers via e-mail transmissions or otherwise via the web site, receipt of any such communications or transmissions by any member of MM Family & Divorce Lawyers does not create a lawyer client relationship. MM Family & Divorce Lawyers does not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this web site.