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Calgary Family Law Blog

What does 'best interests of the child' mean?

Every parent wants what is best for their children. However, during a divorce, parents may not always see eye-to-eye on this matter. In situations where parents cannot reach an agreement regarding parenting arrangements, custody or access, the courts will decide.

Under these circumstances, the courts will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. This phrase can be surprisingly complex, so it can be helpful to understand what it means in the legal context.

Practice Note 8 Assessments - "Parenting Time / Parenting Responsibilities Assessments"

A Practice Note 8 Assessment (formerly known as a "Bilateral Parenting Assessment") is a comprehensive assessment by a mental health professional who gathers information from a variety of sources, who then develops a recommendation about what is the optimal parenting plan for a particular child in a particular family.

Husband who Failed to Disclose Ordered to Pay $490,000 to Ex-Wife

Disclosure in family law proceedings is unfortunately often insufficient or not provided at all. This problem is nearly as old as the Divorce Act itself but in recent years, courts have become increasingly aggressive about ensuring sufficient disclosure is exchanged by spouses. One startling case from the Ontario Court of Appeal underscores this trend. In Knight v. Knight, 2019 ONCA 538, the Ontario Court of Appeal refused to hear the husband's appeal of a whopping $490,000.00 costs award against him. 

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.

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