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Must reading for anyone who has questions about divorce and separation in Alberta

Do you know the legal definition of a “marriage breakdown” or the law in Alberta regarding Corollary Relief? Get the answers by contacting the Edmonton law firm of Belal Najmeddine to request your free introductory consultation.

  • What grounds are there for a divorce in Alberta?
    There must be a breakdown of the marriage. A breakdown of the marriage occurs when:

    • You and your spouse have been separated for one year
    • Your spouse, since the celebration of the marriage, has:
      • committed adultery
      • treated you with physical or mental cruelty of a nature that makes your continued cohabitation intolerable
  • Do you and your spouse have to be living in separate households during the one-year separation?
    No. You are deemed to be separated from your spouse when either of you parts ways from the other with the intention of living separate and apart. This means you can continue to live in the same house while having the intention of separating. This typically means that you and your spouse are no longer sharing a bed and having sexual relations.
  • What if you and your spouse tried to reconcile during the period of separation? Does that change when the one-year separation period starts and ends?
    That depends on the length of your reconciliation. The law in Alberta currently provides for spouses to attempt reconciliation for up to 90 days. If the parties continue to be in a state of reconciliation after 90 days, the one year countdown resets. If the parties attempt to reconcile and are unable to do so within 90 days, there is no change in the one-year countdown.
  • What is Corollary Relief?
    Corollary Relief relates to relief sought as a consequence of issues such as child custody, access, parenting, contact, and spousal support.
  • Do issues of corollary relief have to be resolved before I can get divorced?
    Typically, yes. When you apply for a divorce, the divorce judgment must deal with any corollary relief issues that have not yet been resolved. You will often find that your divorce will be rejected by a Judge if you have not resolved parenting, custody, spousal, or child support issues.
  • Can I get divorced before dealing with issues of Corollary Relief?
    Yes, the Judges of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench have the power to sever outstanding corollary relief matters from a divorce, but are very reluctant to take this step. Caution: if you delay the resolution of corollary relief matters, a judge is unlikely to grant your application to sever the corollary relief matters from the divorce.
  • What is the Parenting After Separation Course?
    This is the course that must be taken by anyone seeking relief from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench who has a child under the age of 16 and would be subject to future proceedings before the court.
  • When should I take this course?
    If you are the Plaintiff or the Applicant, you should take this course within three months of filing your initial lawsuit against your spouse. If you are the spouse who has been served with the initial lawsuit, you should take the course within three months of having been served.
  • Do I have to take the course?
    It depends. You only need to take the course if you want assistance from the Court of Queen’s Bench, and if you have children under the age of 16 who live in Canada. If your children are over 16 or live outside Canada, you do not need to take the course. Also, if you do not plan on ever making an application to the court for child support, child custody, access, or contact, you do not need to take the course, although your pleadings could get struck. Parents without children do not need to take the course. If your initial lawsuit only deals with spousal support and/or property division, you do not need to take the course.
  • What if I have an emergency and there is no time to take the course?
    The court has the power to give a temporary exemption to someone who is in an emergency situation or other circumstance when it is no possible to take the course (language barrier).
  • Where can I take this course?
    You can take this course in person or online.
  • How will anyone know if I took the course?
    Anyone who completes the course receives a certificate of completion. This certificate must be filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta before you can make an application for child support, contact, parenting, or child custody.

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