Time for some fresh thinking about how to get a divorce in Alberta
People who have been through a divorce rarely have good things to say about the experience. That’s understandable because even a low-conflict divorce is an upsetting, life-changing event. But don’t blindly accept what you hear or assume it applies to you.
“Your life circumstances will never be the same as someone else’s life experience and no two couples will go through the divorce experience in the same way,” explains Edmonton Law Office divorce lawyer Belal Najmeddine. “Friends and family members are well-meaning when they give you advice based on their experience, but you never really know where you stand until you have sat down with a divorce lawyer and reviewed the facts of your case.”
10 myths about divorce in Alberta
- You can save money by arranging your own divorce.
The more likely scenario is that you will save some money on legal fees, but lose a lot more because your settlement was less favourable than what you could have achieved with the help, guidance and support of an Edmonton divorce lawyer who gives you everything you want and need from a top law office in Alberta.
- A request for divorce cannot be rejected by the Court.
Your request for divorce can be rejected by the court. By the time you apply for your divorce, you must have resolved all corollary relief matters (child custody, parenting support, spousal support, etc). If you have not, you either need to resolve these matters or apply to the court to sever the corollary issues from your divorce. Once complete, you can apply for your divorce. Three conditions (one of which must apply to you) must be met to request a divorce:
- the other party has committed adultery since the celebration of your marriage
- the other party has, since the celebration of your marriage, treated you with physical or mental cruelty that makes continued cohabitation intolerable
- you must be separated from your spouse for at least one year.
- Your relationship with your former spouse ends the moment your divorce papers are signed.
You will still need to interact, especially if you have had children together. You can even be civil with each other after any wounds created by the divorce have healed.
- A traditional divorce is always going to be more costly and difficult than a divorce arranged through mediation or collaboration.
There are many traditional divorces that go through without excessive costs or stress. Some couples would be better served by mediation or collaboration, but it is not for everyone.
- A divorce is, by definition, expensive.
There is a direct correlation between the level of cooperation between the spouses and the final cost of the divorce. More cooperation, less cost. There is also a correlation between the wealth held by the spouses and the cost of the divorce, simply because there is more that needs to be reviewed and negotiated.
- The children of a divorced couple don’t do well in life.
There are many factors that influence how a child reacts to a divorce. One of the most important is the degree of conflict between the former spouses. Children of parents who separate civilly typically do better than children who were exposed to high levels of conflict.
- The courts always favour the mother.
This myth is based on the narrow (and dated) belief that the only thing that matters is the respective earnings of each spouse. The Courts take a much wider view that takes into account the direct and indirect contributions of each spouse. For example, one spouse may contribute to the success of the other spouse by giving up a career to handle childcare.
- Mothers always get the kids
Custody is awarded based on what is best for the child, not gender or any other consideration. The mother has no advantage versus the father. If the Court thinks the father will provide better care than the mother, it will rule in favour of the father.
- Property division is always equitable
The relevant law in Alberta calls for “equitable distribution”, which is not the same as equal distribution. Property is often divided in an unequal manner for a wide variety of reasons. It is also possible that the spouses may agree on an asset split that is not 50\50.
- Most divorce cases end up in court.
The opposite is true — most divorces are completed without going to court.
Learn more about divorce and separation in Alberta by contacting the Edmonton Law Office today to request your free introductory consultation with one of our family lawyers.