WE HELP RESOLVE FAMILY LAW MATTERS IN CALGARY
Trust the professionals at Adept Family Lawyers to assist you in reaching a fast, straightforward, and positive resolution. Our team is experienced in navigating the complexity of family law and difficult family dynamics. We offer family law resolution services for all aspects of your family's needs, including:
A marriage annulment is a declaration that the marriage is void, whereas a divorce is the dissolution of an existing marriage. Section 8 of the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3 specifies the grounds for divorce (2nd Supp.). On the other hand, the grounds for annulment of a marriage in Canada are now governed by common law. Non-consummation, marriage without permission, and marriage primarily for immigration purposes are frequently claimed as sufficient grounds for annulment.
Non-consummation: Currently, Canadian courts recognize that the inability to consummate a marriage is a viable reason for annulment.
Marriage without consent: Marriages may be declared null and void and subsequent relief provided not due to the existence of fraud, but rather due to the absence of consent, such as the nature of the wedding ceremony or a misunderstanding about the identity of the spouse.
Marriage only for immigration purposes: A marriage can be ruled null and invalid if one or both of the parties went through a ceremony for a reason other than marriage, such as to affect one of the parties' immigrant status. Marriage for the express aim of immigration may have a detrimental influence on the non-Canadian partner's immigration status in Canada.
PRENUPTIAL GUIDANCE AND AGREEMENT
The most effective way to approach a divorce is understanding how the process works, what issues will need to be addressed and what options may be available. By working with an attorney who can provide you with ongoing advice before you start the divorce process, you will be ready to move forward with confidence when the time is right; and without the devastating risks or surprises that come from making rash decisions.
Some of the most common features of pre-divorce guidance include:
Advising and assisting you with legal matters.
Assisting you in focusing on your objectives.
Choosing a divorce process.
Investigating your financial position.
Assisting you in advocating for yourself.
Speaking with your current advisers or helping you in finding new ones.
WHAT ISSUES CAN BE ADDRESSED THROUGH PRE-DIVORCE COUNSELING?
Knowing your legal rights and responsibilities.
Understanding the various divorce procedures, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, is essential.
How to begin divorcing your husband or wife
Understanding the many alternatives for:
Parenting arrangements and child custody.
Plans for spousal support.
Asset and property division.
In recent years, prenuptial agreements have grown more frequent in Alberta. Prenuptial agreements were once only contemplated by high-net-worth individuals or those entering second marriages, but that has changed. Many people marry later in life when they have accumulated large assets that they want to safeguard against a future divorce. That's where a prenuptial agreement for you and your future spouse may be beneficial. Some couples are unaware that such agreements can be formed after they have married. These are known as "postnuptial agreements" and are based on a similar principle.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MY HUSBAND AND ME SIGNING A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
The major rationale for signing a prenuptial agreement is to guarantee that certain agreed-upon arrangements are carried out in the event of a future divorce or death of one of the spouses.
While some may view this as a negative attitude with which to start a marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a useful "insurance" technique for those who want to preserve their assets and/or children from a prior marriage.
If the marriage does end, an enforceable prenuptial agreement generally results in fewer delays, fewer disputes, and lower costs during the divorce process.
It specifies what happens to the house and its belongings, for example, so that there are no disagreements that add to the stress of the divorce.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE
A prenuptial agreement helps you to prepare for the worst-case situation. Things change in relationships, and the fact is that many couples end up divorcing. If your marriage doesn't work out, ignoring this option might make things more difficult emotionally, mentally, and financially. Everyone engaged in a divorce can benefit from a prenuptial agreement.
USE A PRENUP TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS WITH JOINT ASSETS IN ALBERTA
What happens to assets accumulated during the marriage is one of the most important issues in divorce settlements (joint assets). Consider the case when one of the spouses owns a business at the time of marriage. Should a divorce occur, the other spouse would be entitled to an equal share of the rise (or decline) in the value of the business throughout the marriage, according to Albertan family law. This would be the legally enforceable arrangement at the time of divorce if a prenuptial agreement expressly addresses this subject with a separate portion of the company assets. If you don't reach an agreement before getting married, you have three options:
Make a postnuptial agreement with your partner.
Come to an equitable agreement throughout the divorce process, or
The court will make its decision based on an equal division of assets.
A PRENUP PROTECTS ASSETS YOU BRING TO THE MARRIAGE
Anyone who owns valuable property before getting married should consider drafting a prenuptial agreement. It can take care of whatever assets you bring to the marriage and ensure that they are protected in the case of divorce or death.
This covers things like:
Pension contributions and retirement funds.
Investments and savings.
Assets in the business.
Any real estate you own.
Inheritance and gifts.
A properly drawn-up prenuptial agreement can safeguard your children's interests and ensure that they get specific assets following divorce or death if you had children from a prior marriage.
POST NUPTIAL AGREEMENT
WHAT IS A POST-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
If a pre-nuptial agreement is established and signed before the wedding, a post-nuptial agreement may be drafted after the wedding. Both of these papers fundamentally carry out the same functions. The only distinguishing factor is when they are written and when they take effect. Some couples may even sign both pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Couples want to have these agreements in place because they can possibly prevent tough talks, periods of uncertainty, and marital issues down the road. Marriage agreements are arguably best recognized for outlining which property is marital property and which assets are to stay solely in the possession of one of the spouses if the marriage dissolves. For example, one spouse may demand that a family company or a family house stay in their name solely if the
WHY GET ONE?
Pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly frequent since they are viewed as legal tools used to safeguard an individual and their assets prior to entering into a marriage. However, there are also cases where these sorts of agreements are formed after the couple has already married. A post-nuptial agreement is usually required when the couple's circumstances change substantially.
For example, one of the couples may receive a substantial piece of real estate or a business from a family relative. A post-nuptial agreement ensures that this inheritance remains in the family regardless of the marriage's destiny. When a spouse changes jobs, the duties of each pair are radically shifted, generating uncertainty. A marital agreement may establish the ground rules for the couple to follow in order to stay on track.
Everything you or your spouse owns individually or jointly on the date you split is considered family property. It makes no difference who owns the family property. Family property is believed to be divided equally between the spouses, regardless of their usage or contribution to that property.
Adept Family Lawyers has considerable property division knowledge and will guide you through the many kinds of family property.
The following are examples of family property:
The family residence.
Bank accounts, insurance plans, and pensions.
An interest in a company.
The amount of any gain in the value of an excluded property since the beginning of the relationship.
During the course of a marriage, spouses may accrue assets as well as debt. According to Section 86 of the Family Law Act, family debt includes all financial commitments incurred by a spouse from the beginning of the relationship through the date of separation, and after the date of separation if incurred for the purpose of maintaining the family property.
AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR MY SPOUSE'S DEBT?
Most of the time, the debt incurred during your marriage will be shared evenly. However, if you can establish that debt was amassed outside of the regular course of your marriage, the courts can award the spouse an uneven share of the remainder of marital debt. If you feel that your assets and debts should not be shared equally, it is strongly advised that you counsel with a divorce lawyer.
Joint vs. Individual Debt
Debt might be due in the names of both spouses (joint debt) or in the name of only one spouse (individual debt). If the debt was accumulated during the marriage for the benefit of the family (e.g., for furniture, food, clothing, holidays) it will be deemed marital debt and both spouses will have an equal duty to repay it.
Secured vs. Unsecured Debt
Debt can also be secured, such as a house mortgage or vehicle loan, or unsecured, such as credit cards and line of credit. Most divorcing spouses are aware that they will almost certainly take the outstanding debt associated with whatever assets they retain (ie. the house or car). However, some people may find it difficult to agree to be accountable for the repayment of unsecured debt acquired for a benefit received by others in the past (ie. restaurants, holidays, etc.).
Bankruptcy vs. Consumer Proposals
As a final option, some spouses may believe that declaring bankruptcy is the only way out of hefty marriage debt. However, this might have a negative impact on credit scores and limit future lending availability. Furthermore, this may place the weight of debt repayment on the other spouse, which may merely encourage the other spouse to contemplate bankruptcy as well.
LAWYER ASSISTED MEDIATION
Mediation is a form of negotiation conducted by a third person who is not involved in the conflict. We have a number of professional and experienced mediators at Adept Family Lawyers. Furthermore, all of our lawyers attend lawyer-assisted mediation with clients on a regular basis in an effort to reach a mutually agreed settlement to their marriage concerns arising from the separation. Mediation is a completely voluntary procedure. Any decisions or agreements made are non-binding unless they are incorporated in a court order or contract signed by both parties after receiving independent legal counsel. Many customers chose mediation as their preferred option since it is typically less expensive and faster than going through the court system, particularly litigation.
Many people believe that domestic violence just refers to physical abuse at the hands of a partner or spouse. Domestic or familial violence, on the other hand, can take numerous forms, including:
Sexual abuse/assault: Any sort of forced sexual behaviour, including forcing physical activities, observing sexual acts, watching pornography, or mocking sexual performance or sexual organs, is considered sexual abuse/assault.
Psychological/emotional abuse: Victims are frequently unaware they have been abused since it is the most subtle and gradually develops in severity until it feels "normal." Belittling, "crazy-making" or gaslighting, dominating, threatening, withholding affection, threatening suicide, emotional manipulation, attacks on self-esteem, threats to take the children, and threats to institutionalize are all examples of such behaviour.
Social abuse: This type of abuse is meant to isolate the victim, and it frequently occurs in public. Restriction or denial of access to family or friends, public insults and put-downs and humiliating the victim in front of others, are all examples of abusive behaviour.
Stalking/harassment: This type of abuse is frequently used as a sort of post-separation punishment to make the victim feel uncomfortable. Repeated unwanted phone calls/texts/emails/letters, the use of hidden cameras, unexpected and repetitive appearances at the victim's home or work, sending unwanted gifts, or using the victim's children as an excuse to be around the victim are all examples of acts.
Financial/economic abuse: This includes withholding money for essential requirements, restricting or cutting off access to bank accounts, preventing/pushing the victim from working, controlling the victim's spending, mismanaging the family's revenue, or compelling the victim to surrender over financial entitlements/benefits to institutionalize.
Spiritual abuse: This includes prohibiting the victim from exercising their religious beliefs, stopping the victim from visiting their chosen place of worship, forcing the victim to attend a certain place of worship, pushing the victim into a cult, or dismissing the victim's religious views and/or activities.
Technological abuse: Installing GPS on the victim's devices, property, or vehicles, manipulating smart home devices to spy, spying on the victim's phone, computers, or online accounts, or impersonating the victim online and creating false social media profiles, email accounts are all examples of this type of abuse.
Immigrant abuse: Threats of deportation, withdrawal of sponsorship, controlling access to passports, denying access to ESL/ASL classes, denying access to information about their legal status or the status of their immigration, refugee case, or threatening to remove the children from Canada are examples of actions that affect individuals who do not have legal status in Canada, and are refugees, and sponsored immigrants.
Legal bullying: The victim is intimidated and authority is asserted through the use of family law courts. Self-representing, bringing false criminal claims against the victim to police, refusing to comply with court orders, or threatening self-harm or suicide if the victim does not discontinue court proceedings are examples of illegal acts.
EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDER
When family members, especially couples in adult interdependent relationships, engage in violent and/or threatening behaviour, an emergency protection order, sometimes known as a restraining order, can be obtained. This form of injunction can only be obtained if there is proof that immediate protection is required.
A person who has been the victim of violence or feels threatened can petition to the Provincial Court for an injunction. When police officers are called to a residence because of domestic violence, these orders are frequently issued. A police officer can obtain an emergency protection order at any time of day or night, and it can be granted and implemented right away.
An emergency protection order can result in the offender being taken from the house and barred from returning, as well as preventing the offender from having any contact with the applicant.
QUEEN’S BENCH PROTECTION ORDER
This protection order works similarly to an emergency protection order, except it can be used in both non-emergency and emergency situations. These are also known as restraining orders in some cases. The application is sent to the person accused of aggressive behaviour. The guilty person may also be required to compensate the victim for any expenditures incurred as a result of the assault.
WHAT IF A PROTECTION ORDER IS BREACHED?
The respondent to an emergency protection order or a Queen's Bench Protection Order can be arrested if the order is broken. They will be summoned before the Provincial Court for an appearance. If the Courts concluded that the conditions of the order have been violated, the responder may be fined or imprisoned, depending on the severity of the violation.
HOW LONG WILL AN EMERGENCY PROTECTION ORDER LAST?
These restraining orders aren't indefinite. As previously stated, the order will be reviewed within nine days after its issuance. There will be a hearing, and each side is required to show up and present their case. The Emergency Protection Order will most likely be cancelled if the applicant or an Alberta lawyer representing the applicant fails to attend this hearing.
If you want to have an emergency protection order extended, you need to hire an Alberta lawyer to ensure that you have all of the essential proof. In the same way, if you believe a protection order should be lifted, an attorney can assist you in defending your rights.
When parents divorce and one parent wishes to relocate with the children to another state, mobility concerns arise. These are fact-based and complicated instances. Our lawyers at Adept Family Lawyers have a lot of experience arguing for clients who are in the middle of a mobility case. We have the knowledge to assist you whether you are applying to relocate with your children or are dealing with a party that is attempting to move with your children.
The following are the key elements that the court examines when considering whether to authorize relocation with a child away from the child's usual residence:
The child's current custody arrangement and connection with the custodial parent.
The present access agreement and the child's connection with the access parent.
The importance of maximizing interaction between the child and both parents; the child's perspective.
Only in exceptional cases when it is important to that parent's capacity to satisfy the needs of the child can the custodial parent's cause for relocation be considered.
Disruption to the child as a result of a change of custody.
Disruption to the child as a result of being removed from his or her family, schools, and community.
Divorce may have a negative impact on many relationships. Unfortunately, grandparents are frequently caught in the conflict and lose contact with their grandkids. This is especially typical if they have restricted custody or access to their own children.
Strengthening Relationships: The Family Law Act of Alberta does not grant grandparents the right to contact their grandchildren. They can, however, seek court permission to request contact if they can demonstrate that the children would benefit from having a connection with their grandparents.
Courts consider a number of issues when considering whether to allow grandparents contact with their grandchildren, including:
The grandchild's best interests.
The wishes of the grandchild.
The advantage of their connection with their grandfather.
The type and quality of the grandchild's existing bond with his or her grandparents, as well as the grandchild's history of care.
Any history of domestic violence.
The possibility that denying contact could damage the grandchild's physical, psychological, or emotional wellbeing.
The parents' unwillingness to allow contact is acceptable.
Going to court may be frightening and unsettling. There are alternative methods, such as mediation, to work out a solution, such as a visiting schedule. We will explain your alternatives, assist you in negotiating an out-of-court deal, and represent you in court if required.
In exceptional instances, you may choose to seek guardianship of your grandkids. This is usually done when there is the participation of child protection authorities, significant alcohol or drug misuse, crime, abuse, or neglect.
Adoption may provide stability, affection, and a sense of belonging to a child. Adoptions also generate legal rights and duties that would not otherwise exist. Adoption can provide a legal link to match the emotional attachment that already exists when a single parent is in a long-term relationship with a new partner who already serves as a parent to the child. It can be a tough decision for a biological parent to give up his or her rights to a child as part of the adoption process. We provide a nonjudgmental environment in which biological parents may discuss their children's existing and future rights. It is critical that everyone involved, including adults and children, understand how they will be impacted.
ESTABLISHING NEW FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Our experience at Adept Family Lawyers can guide you through whatever adoption procedure you are involved in, including:
Courts consider a number of issues when considering whether to allow grandparents contact with their grandchildren, including:
Adoptions, both public and private.
Adoptions by stepparents.
Adoptions by nonrelatives.
Adoptions of elder children or special-needs children.
Adoptions, both open and closed.
Adoptions by extended families.
Adoptions by same-sex relationships.
Our adoption attorneys will address all of your concerns and, if necessary, assist you with documents, interviews, and home studies. We will work swiftly and efficiently to resolve any issues so that your family may move on.
Guardianship of a dependent adult provides you with the power to make important choices for someone who is mentally incapable of making them on their own, such as:
Where and with whom the individual resides.
Permits and licences.
Formal education or training.
Other day-to-day requirements include eating and clothing.
An adult may suffer from mild strokes, Alzheimer's disease, mental retardation, mental illness, or irreparable brain injury as a consequence of an accident and become a dependent adult. This person needs protection against mistreatment, neglect, manipulation, or exploitation in settings where he or she may be mistreated, neglected, manipulated, or exploited.
You may apply the Court of Queen's Bench for a Guardianship Order if you consider that someone should make personal and health decisions for a dependent adult. The Surrogate Section of the Court handles guardianship and trusteeship petitions under the Dependent Adults Act, as well as lasting powers of attorney, wills, and estates.
POST DIVORCE MATTERS
A post-divorce action is a legal action that occurs after a court has issued a final divorce ruling. A post-divorce action refers to any legal action brought by either spouse to enforce or alter the divorce decree.
Although there are other concerns that frequently need legal action, the most typical post-divorce proceedings attempt to enforce a child support order or alter a child custody agreement.
Following the entry of court orders, the court does not monitor the parties to verify that the court's directives are obeyed. With the exception of child support, which is frequently supervised by a government-run independent child support agency, it is up to the party who has been wronged to seek judicial involvement to execute court orders. Before requesting a court to execute its orders, it's a good idea to talk with an attorney.
FAILURE TO COMPLY AND ENFORCEMENT
When a court issues a final divorce decision, the judgement becomes the official order of that court. Each party is obligated by the orders and is required to follow them. If one party fails to comply with the court's orders, the other party may petition the court to have the orders enforced.
Failure to comply may result in the issuance of a bench warrant for the non-compliant person's arrest, prison term, or penalties. In rare cases, a disobedient spouse may face criminal charges. In other cases, civil damages may be awarded. The key issue here is that divorce-related court orders are still court orders, regardless of their civil nature, so they must be followed.