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If you are considering divorce, or have been served with divorce papers, you’re probably confused and concerned about the future. Divorce is not easy. In fact, it can be one of the most emotionally draining experiences you’ll ever go through. Fortunately, you don’t have to sort it out alone. A local divorce lawyer can explain your rights and your options and help you make good decisions right from the beginning of your divorce case.

Cities We Have Alberta Divorce Lawyers

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How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Alberta?

Generally, Lawyers charge their hourly rate for the time they spend on a client’s matter.  They charge half their hourly rate for a half hour of time and their full rate for a full hour and so on.  Lawyers seek a retainer in advance and that retainer is put into a trust account, which is only billed at the time they render an invoice on the client’s account for their time on the file.  The cost of a divorce lawyer in Albert depends on the nature of the task for which you are retaining the lawyer and also the lawyer’s hourly rate. Lawyers hourly rate reflect their years of experienced and the demand for their time.  Generally, we seek to match you with capable and experienced divorce lawyers.  The hourly rate of lawyers in Alberta can range from $225 to $500.  

How much does divorce cost in Alberta? 

An uncontested divorce can range from $2,500 to $5,500 depending on the nature of your issues.  The range of costs for contested divorces are much larger. A divorce can be contested based on one issue with every other issue largely being resolved. On the other hand, a contested divorce can be contested because there is no agreement and many complex issues that require litigation.  Contested divorces can therefore range from little more, if any than a the cost of a simple uncontested  divorce, $2,500 to tens of thousands of dollars for highly contested divorces with many issues including child custody and maintenance/support, possession of the matrimonial home, spousal support, division of assets and debts and many other issues.

How long does divorce take in Alberta?

If the parties agree on how matters should be resolved and are seeking an uncontested divorce, our lawyers could produce the documents required for the court to produce a divorce order in a few weeks.  A contested hearing can range from a short hearing that may finish in a day or two to a multi-year proceeding.

However, in order for a judge to properly issue a divorce, the parties need to be either separated for a year prior to the judge issuing the divorce or there needs to have been cruelty flowing from one party to another or adultery.

How do I get a divorce in Alberta?

In Alberta, and every other province in Canada, a petition or application for divorce needs to be filed with a court of competent jurisdiction.  Once this application/petition is before the court and the judge grants the divorce order, a certificate of divorce will be issued 31 days after the divorce order is issued by the court. 

Is there alimony in Alberta?  

Alimony is an American term. In Canada alimony is called Spousal Support.  In Alberta, and every other province in Canada, spousal support may be awarded to the lower-income earning party upon separation provided they meet the legal qualifications to claim Spousal Support. 

How is spousal support (alimony) calculated in Alberta?

Spousal support is awarded if there is an agreed to contract for spousal support, or:

  1. If there is a need to compensate a spouse who sacrificed their ability to earn an income during the marriage
  2. If there is a need to compensate a spouse for ongoing care of children beyond what is provided for in child support; or
  3. If there is a need to help a spouse in financial need arising from the breakdown of the marriage. 

If one of these situations exists, the spouse seeking spousal support continues to be obligated to become financially self sufficient when reasonable. This could mean obtaining additional education, or work training as well as making job applications to obtain employment. 

To calculate spousal support, it is recommended you consult a lawyer. To determine the range of spousal support, a number of factors need to be considered to determine what is appropriate.  The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are used by most lawyers and courts to assist in determining a range for spousal support.  It is important to understand that even after a range is determined, it is only a recommendation and is not binding. It will be up to the parties by agreement or a presiding judge at a hearing to determine what amount of spousal support is reasonable in the circumstances. 

Can you date while separated in Alberta?

After you are separated, you can date. In Canada, divorces are “no fault” so dating will not impact your divorce.

How does adultery affect divorce in Alberta?

Adultery is one ground for divorce that can justify obtaining a divorce only 3 months after separation. Adultery does not impact other issues associated with divorce, such as spousal support, child custody or division of property because there are “no fault” divorces in Canada. 

Who pays for divorce in Alberta?

Divorces are paid for by the person filing the petition for divorce. If divorce proceedings are contested, it is possible for the successful party to ask the court to order costs against the unsuccessful party. 

Is Alberta a no-fault divorce province?

Yes.  Alberta, like every other province in Canada has no-fault divorces. 

Who gets the house in a divorce in Alberta?  

A matrimonial home can go to either party in a divorce. Generally, the courts will award a matrimonial home to a party who has primary care of the children of the marriage so that the children will continue to have a stable place to reside. 

What happens if a spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement in Alberta?

If someone refuses to sign a separation agreement, your only option is to file an application with the court for separation/divorce. No one can force a person to sign an agreement, but the court will be able to make a decision on issues relating to a separation/divorce without the need of obtaining agreement from a party.

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