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How to File for Divorce in Calgary, Canada


According to a recent study, the divorce rate in Canada is almost 40%. From them, around 10,000+ divorces happened only in Alberta State. When love falls apart, the best decision is to accept a mutual divorce.

Besides, we all know how stressful the divorce procedure can be. So, from wherever country you are from, you will search for an affordable, experienced law firm to handle your case. To win an uncontested divorce case or even if it is contested, you will need an experienced divorce lawyer from a reputed law firm. 

There are hundreds of websites on the internet that render free legal advice on how to proceed (file for a divorce or try couple therapy). So, before taking any ignorant drastic step, contact them, or read our article. In this article, we will cover the eligibility, process, steps, etc. on how to file for a divorce in Calgary.

How to file for a divorce in Calgary 

1. What a plaintiff wants to know while consulting a divorce lawyer?

  • Divorce and separation instructions
  • Child support or can be called alimony
  • Property distribution
  • Common family Law
  • Guardian and nominee
  • Retainer agreements
  • Adoption procedure
  • Co-parenting and maintenance

2. Eligibility for filing a divorce in Calgary

Filing divorce in Calgary court is possible if anyone of the spouses fulfills these requirements-

  • They must be resident for one year in Calgary, Alberta.
  • For breaking down a marriage other criterion is included-
  • Adultery: Your spouse is having another affair behind your back.
  • Domestic violence: your spouse is violent and been abusing you both mentally and physically.
  • Mental sickness: your spouse is mentally ill, which made it unbearable to live with him/ her.
  • Separation without any legal documents for almost one year etc

3. When to appoint a Lawyer?

There is no need to appoint a lawyer if you are mutually separate. However, you must consult a lawyer to take some important decisions such as separate your property, goods, and custody of your children (if there is any).

But when you and your partner cannot decide a mutual term on any matter like child custody or property division, you may need to appoint a lawyer. To resolve any dispute, first, the lawyer will try to make a way out. It doesn’t work, they will take help from the court, and that is the final decision as per stated.

4. Step by step divorce procedure 

  • Filing for divorce

A statement of claim for divorce is filed in the court. If you are the one who filed the divorce, then you are called the plaintiff. On the other hand, the one who received the legal notice will be called the defendant. In that case, you may need to appoint your lawyer after that and read all the procedure papers in detail lest you should miss the crucial points.

Make sure to put detail on the legal documents such as the birthdates, wedding date, name, parents’ name. Also include how long you are married and why do you want the divorce, etc. If the dispute is about the division of property and children’s custody, include every detail of them. You must highlight your strong point so that the judge stays firm on your side. 

  • Legal notice to your spouse

Your spouse must know that you have started taking legal actions. That is why hand over the documents to your wife in person or hire a server. But don’t mail them because they may get lost in mails. If your spouse is out of the country, then request the judge to apply another process to send them.

Your spouse must respond to the documents if they get it on their hands. If he/ she is in Calgary, 15 days; if outside the province 40 days and if outside the country, the judge will select a time of response.

  • Spouse’s claim

Before going to the trial, your spouse may contest your grounds. In that case, you need to hire a lawyer, and this could take months to close. The dispute could be property or child custody. If she contests, a protest of defense will be formed. At the same time, your spouse can file a counterclaim if he/ she is not okay with your grounds.

  • Divorce trial

After the claim and counterclaim, a judge will review all the documents and give his verdict. Before announcing anything, they have to ensure the safety of the children involved.

According to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the court will fix child custody, support, alimony, and whoever gets access to them. If the judge is satisfied with every ground, he may announce the divorce, if not, the trial will take time until it gets approval of the judge.

Your spouse can appeal after the verdict. In that case, the spouse needs to file the Notice of Appeal in 30 days.

  • Divorce papers

After the trials and appeals, the court will announce you separated. On the 31st day from the final trial, you will be legally divorced. Then you can apply for the divorce certificate in case you need to submit it anywhere or just to keep it to yourself.

If any alimony or supports need to get paid, you need to pay that for the time being. In a limited time of 2 years of issuing the certificate, you can use or distribute the marital assets.

5. Child Support

  • Count the basic amount of child support 
  • Additional expenses 
  • Claim for undue hardship

These 3 stages noted under the Divorce act and Family law act.

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As mentioned before, the divorce can smoothly go if it is mutually done. In case of dispute, you need to hire and pay the lawyer and will get disappointed at every trial by waiting. It is also not good for your child’s mental health.

In that situation, the whole thing gets pretty messy. So, try to complete everything mutually and don’t hamper your child’s right by stretching the judgment for too long.