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What options are available in child support and custody issues?

Getting custody of your children, or even shared custody, when getting a divorce is a worthy goal. The family mediation offered by the Family Mediation Services of Alberta can help. They encourage communication, negotiation and cooperation by you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Resolving issues outside of the courtroom is what they hope to achieve on your behalf.

Sometimes, though, no matter how much you may want to work things out, your spouse may be bitter, angry and lash out at you. Or he or she is asking for way too much. Either way, you need to be aware that having a lawyer on your side can be a real asset at a time like this.

The different options available to you, your spouse and the children need to be examined. Some can be helpful while others are not so much a help as a hindrance. Making decisions about your children is an area that you will want to address. Who makes religious, medical or schooling decisions for your child? Will it be you, your spouse or both of you together?

Mediation can only take you so far. It isn't legally binding so your spouse can bow out at any time and even deny in court that these are the things he or she agreed to. One option is to take the agreed upon issues to your lawyer and have them made into a legally binding contract.

Child support will be a big issue in a divorce that involves children. Working with your lawyer on this with your spouse and his or her lawyer can give you so much comfort. If you don't, then the court will have to decide for you and that may not have the outcome you were hoping for.

Calling in a lawyer early in the mediation process, one who knows the laws of Alberta, can be a good idea.

Source: Alberta Courts, "Mediation / Dispute Resolution Processes," accessed July 15, 2015

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