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Calgary Family Law Blog

The importance of a marriage contract

A marriage contract can be a vital tool for helping couples move forward after a divorce. Generally, it's something that is created at the beginning of a serious relationship, although it can be difficult to think about ending a marriage just as you're about to begin one.

However, most people are likely to abide by rules they create themselves. And if you and your partner can discuss reasonable separation terms without the impact feelings of anger or resentment can present, it can help create a contract that satisfies both of your needs. Also, it's better to discuss contentious items when things are good and you're both generally more level-headed.

How will the new Family Property Act impact LGBT couples?

The Alberta legislature passed Bill 28 which includes new matrimonial property legislation called the Family Property Act. It comes into force January 2020 and LGBT couples should be particularly cautious about how it will affect them. The most prominent change to family law under the new Alberta Family Property Act is that it will give common law couples the same rights and obligations for their property as married couples already have. This means a 50/50 division of property acquired during the relationship (with certain exceptions).

Ending a Relationship: What Do I Do?

Deciding to end a domestic relationship can be an emotional and complex decision to make. But once you have mentally decided that it's time to end a relationship with your spouse, the next steps are to formalize that decision.

Married couples must end their marriage by requesting a divorce from the government. Once all pending issues on how each party will move forward are sorted out, a judge can then grant the divorce if all other requirements are met.

Marriage contracts increasingly popular among couples who remarry

There are many forms of loss that accompany a divorce. In addition to losing your partner and confidante, you may have also lost financial assets and access to your children.

Enduring such significant losses simultaneously can be crippling. For this reason, couples are often more cautious about marriage the second time around. One of the ways in which couples can protect themselves is by drafting a marriage contract.

Enforcing Support Orders inside and outside Alberta

You're expecting to receive money from your ex-partner to pay for your daughter's new clothes. But the money doesn't arrive. Unfortunately, getting a Support Order from a court does not mean that you are guaranteed to get the money set out in the Order.

What can you do? Your ex-partner can be compelled to pay the support payments you are owed. It may still be possible to force your ex to pay their outstanding support payments even if they have moved to another province or another country.

Surprise! Dividing property in divorce isn't always straightforward

Alberta couples are often surprised when they start to divide their property during a divorce. Many people don't know that the law considers many things besides houses and land to be 'property'. This can make the property division decisions very complex. Each person must have their own legal advisor to help them reach an agreement that the court will recognize and enforce.

Women may have unique financial concerns in divorce

The divorce rate among those 50-plus has skyrocketed in recent years, leaving many with questions they had not previously considered. Divorce can lead to some major financial changes and surprises, especially for those whose spouses handled the finances during their marriage. Alberta women facing these breakups should take care to learn as much as possible about their marital finances before going through with a separation or divorce.

Disputes related to child custody in Alberta

It's a disparaging reputation no divorced parent should have. Frequent flyers refer to parents who, with alarming regularity, petition family law courts to resolve disagreements which, under other circumstances, would not be worth mentioning, much less come before a judge. In Alberta, as elsewhere, family law adjudicates substantive matters related to child custody, guardianship and parenting.

The key word is "substantive," which encompasses the continuing welfare and appropriate enrichment of the child as he or she matures. However, some parents may become engaged in an interminable battle with each other. They will refer back to the courts for simple decisions, like enforcing the return of a child's ballet slippers. Such applications might delay or displace more critical cases involving, for example, alleged child abuse or parental alienation.

Divorce can sometimes be avoided with behaviour changes

Divorce lawyers often see couples after their relationships have fallen apart, but this also gives them some insights into what causes breakups in the first place. Alberta couples on the verge of divorce, or even those readying for marriage, may find some of their advice helpful to avoid a contentious separation down the line. While relationship tips may not always be able to save a doomed relationship, it could make the difference between a volatile breakup and a mutually respectful separation.

Nurturing a friendship and a supportive relationship is important for Alberta spouses looking to get along better. There are many negative people and messages each individual faces each day, so it is important that a spouse be a source of positivity and comfort in contrast to this negativity. Expecting one another to be perfect will only end in disappointment and criticism.

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