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Tips for making custody exchanges less stressful

After a divorce, splitting time with your children can be complicated. There can be challenges keeping a schedule, and parents can be sad to leave their children, who can also be upset. Further, parents may be anxious about seeing each other.

All this can make custody exchanges tense and stressful. However, there are some steps you can take to make things easier for you and your kids when it comes time for them to say goodbye to one parent and hello to the other.

Costs

Costs are a discretionary and flexible award by the court following the conclusion of a lawsuit or a step in a lawsuit. This discretionary aspect of costs also makes it difficult for lawyers to give legal advice on potential costs consequences. The general rules are clear, but not always uniformly applied. Some of the general rules are as follows:

Do I Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

On January 1, 2020, the Family Property Act replaced the Matrimonial Property Act. The biggest changes relate to property rights for "common law couples". Unlike the Matrimonial Property Act it applies to "common law" couples and gives them the exact same property rights as the Matrimonial Property Act gave to married couples. I use quotes because the meaning of "common law" couple has never been clear in Alberta and the Family Property Act does not use that phrase. Instead, it uses the phrase "adult interdependent partners" and, unfortunately, that phrase is no more clear than "common law". If you work in the financial services or real estate industries, this makes it hard to know when your clients need a cohabitation agreement that deals with the end of their cohabitation.

Staying out of court during your divorce

Going to court for your divorce may seem like your best or only option, particularly if you feel too angry or betrayed to consider alternatives. However, litigation is a complicated process. It takes time and money that you may not want to devote to ending your marriage. 

As such, staying out of the courtroom can be in your best interests. You can do this by pursuing alternative methods of resolving family legal matters.

5 mistakes that could invalidate a family law contract

Contracts are becoming more common among couples marrying or cohabitating. But the increasing popularity of these agreements could come with a false sense of simplicity or informality.

If you are thinking about having a marital contract – or if your partner wants one, but you think you do not need one – there are some critical things to understand about these legal tools, including some mistakes to avoid.

Parents: Tips for talking to your kids about a divorce

Deciding to end a marriage can involve difficult discussions between spouses, sessions with a counsellor, and countless phone calls with friends and family. But perhaps the most difficult conversation you have about divorce could be with your children.

Telling your children that you are divorcing can be incredibly difficult. However, there are some ways to make it a little easier to break the news to your kids and help them digest the information.

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.

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