Divorce and Separation
When married couples decide to end their relationship, there are specific processes for separation and divorce that must be followed for legal recognition. Generally, if you and your spouse decide that you no longer wish to live together, you are considered separated. There is no legal process required to recognize a separation. It should be noted; however, that separation for one year is required in Alberta to obtain a divorce. This also means you must be a resident of the province for at least one year to be granted a divorce.
Before you separate, a divorce separation lawyer in Edmonton or a family lawyer can help guide you in terms of knowing your rights and responsibilities. If a spouse leaves home, in doing so they don’t automatically forfeit their rights to their home and assets. If your spouse will not leave your home to the detriment of you and your family, a family lawyer can assist with obtaining an Exclusive Home Possession Order to allow you to solely inhabit the home for a certain period of time according to factors including children’s needs, financial positions of both spouses and availability of other accommodation. Further, if financial support is required by one spouse during the separation, it can be ordered by the courts to be paid by the other spouse.
Every situation is different, and there are different interpretations of what separation entails (which can include remaining in the same home if certain requirements are met), and also the unique circumstances pertaining to the divorce. In Alberta, if your spouse committed adultery or has been physically or mentally cruel/abusive, the typical required one-year period of separation is waived.
If you and your spouse decide to proceed with the divorce, there are numerous points that must be agreed to by both parties. This is a process best managed by family law lawyers. Such items for negotiation include:
- Division of property and debts
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Custody and visitation rights for children
Any agreement on these terms will be included in a legally binding contract that will be prepared by your divorce lawyer. If you and your spouse cannot agree to terms, your case will be brought before a court where a judge will make pertinent decisions and rulings to resolve the dispute.
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