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Child Visitation after Divorce in Calgary

Child visitation could be described as the right of a parent to visit with his or her child after a divorce or separation has occurred between you and your former partner.  This is really known as parenting time under the Family Law Act of Alberta.  If the Divorce Act governed, meaning that the parties were married, sometimes one still uses the terminology of child access or child visitation.  These issues can be determined whether or not there has been a custody award.  The courts have jurisdiction to determine parenting time and an application can be brought or a negotiation and agreement can be made.

In most cases, the court will want to know what the child thinks, but only if the child is of an appropriate age to be involved.  It is the lawyer’s job to present your case for the outcome that you would like, which is likely to be maximum time with your child.  Coming from this angle, your lawyer will put together the evidentiary package to show the judge that what you can offer the child as a total package is in the child’s best interests.

This will include living conditions, does the child have a separate room with a separate bed, are their siblings around or cousins or other children of the same age, are there aunts and uncles, grandparents involvement, other extended family or friends; are there vacation plans where the children will see the world, you name it.  The better circumstance you can provide, the more likely it is that the judge will agree that that is best for the children.  In a sense, the judge has to say to himself or herself, ‘If I were this child, what would be best for me?’.

This may seem a funny thing for a one year old or a three year old or a seven year old to think and, indeed, the child will not be thinking this but the judge basically has to assume that role.  The test is what is in the best interests of the child.  The lawyer’s task is to provide the evidence which shows the court that your side is the best for the child and that your position is the best position for the child.

You may want to limit the time that the other parent has with the child or you may want the other parent to have no time at all with the child.  Maybe the other parent has issues of violence, indiscriminate actions, drug or alcohol issues, anger issues, again, this is not an exhaustive list.

We also take cases where our clients are being restricted in their access, visitation, or parenting time, and they wish to increase the parenting time.  Here again, it is so crucial to develop the evidence and cast the situation in the most favourable light.

How to choose a Calgary Family Lawyer?

Whether you are living in Calgary or Okotoks or Airdrie, and whether you are a man/husband or a woman/wife, you may be asking what is the best way to choose a Calgary Family Lawyer.  This is a good question actually.  There are so many lawyers to choose from.  Many may even advertise that they are the best Calgary Family Lawyer or words to that effect.  One should instinctively be suspicious if a lawyer is saying that they are the best Calgary Family Lawyer.  No one lawyer has that privilege and it is not fair to the rest of the lawyers who are all just as good, if not better.  Issues of What will the lawyer cost?.  Issues of Will they do a good job?.  Will I get good value for money with my Calgary Family Lawyer?  All of these issues should be questioned when you are searching for the best Family Lawyer in Calgary for you.

Or firm has experience and will try hard to get you the best possible outcome and with the best value for your hard earned money.  Our lawyers charge on an hourly rate basis.  Hourly rates are typically between $150 an hour to $350 an hour depending on the experience of the lawyer involved in the case.  Usually, an initial retainer of $2,000 to $5,000 is required because whatever the lawyer is going to do for you, they are going to spend at least 10 or 20 hours before they can resolve your case.  If the time exceeds the initial retainer, you will be notified and you can discuss it with the lawyer that more work is required.  Usually the initial retainer is insufficient to resolve all issues.  The lengthier and more drawn out the process the more expensive the case will be.

The payor of spousal support and child support can generally be expected to pay out a third of their income to keep the other spouse at the same level that she enjoyed during the marriage.  So, for example, if the payor of support is earning a significant amount of income, support payments are often in the thousands of dollars monthly so in many cases hiring a lawyer and paying to get spousal support and child support flowing is a good idea financially because the money you pay for the lawyer will be much less than the money you will start to receive once the court orders those payments to commence.  So getting started sooner rather than later is often your best idea.

Your lawyer’s capacity and ability may decide who wins custody, how much spousal support will be paid, how much child support will be paid, what will be the parenting time, what assets should be divided and debts and liabilities.  In relation to assets, this becomes critical in a high net worth divorce situation where there may be vacation properties, investments, pensions, a valuable matrimonial home to be evaluated and equalized.  There are no end of issues.  Hire a good lawyer in whom you have faith and confidence to increase your chances of winning all issues such as custody of your child or maximum parenting time in the family law center Calgary.

According to the laws of Calgary if you want a divorce you have to satisfy the following criteria: 

  • You and your spouse have lived separately for a period of at least 1 year.
  • There is no prospect of reconciliation.

In the past you have grounds for divorce but all of that has been removed.  Living separate and apart for one year is a grounds for divorce so it is no longer necessary to have to get into the real reasons for the divorce.  There may be issues of adultery, cruelty, domestic violence in the relationship, mistreatment or maltreatment of children.  None of this needs to be pled before the court as it once was decades ago.  It suffices now that you have lived separate and apart for one year.  That can sometimes even be separate and apart but living under the same roof if a divorce needs to be granted quickly.  Sometimes parties want a divorce quickly if they plan to remarry quickly and they do not want to wait one year.

But generally speaking, you have to be apart for one year.  You have to confirm that you have explored the possibility of reconciliation and reconciliation is impossible.  You have to file the petition for divorce and have been separated for a year and then one may apply for a final order of divorce.

In the meantime, there can be any number of interim applications for things like child support, spousal support, parenting time with children.

If your spouse is outside the country or province, we can still help.   Lets say your spouse lives outside the province.  In this case you might have tried to search for one of the top divorce lawyers Calgary.  You may be searching for family and divorce lawyers to choose.

Even if your spouse is in another province or even another country, there is a procedure for this.  Court filings can typically be made where you are unless there have already been filings in another jurisdiction.  Once the jurisdictions is established, it will be likely to remain the jurisdictions unless the parties agree to transfer it to a different court’s jurisdiction.  If the Alberta courts will assume jurisdiction, which they likely will if one of the spouses is in Alberta permanently and files in Alberta.  Then those proceedings can be served in the other province or country or territory by invoking a extra-jurisdictional service procedure which will require some time and effort on the part of the lawyer and some additional cost for invoking law in another territory and seeking the help of process servers and what have you.  There will be a time to respond and there will need to be proof of service and proof that all of the legal formalities have been followed.  It might be that the other spouse will be given 15 days or 30 days to respond.  The court might make some specific exception and allow a response on an exceptional basis such as through email or post.

If the court is satisfied that appropriate notice has been given, the court can assume jurisdiction, weigh the facts and issues, and make any determination it is asked to make.  Speak to a trusted Calgary Family Lawyer for advice.

Even were a divorce case might appear to be simple on its face, this is not always the case.  Often it isn’t, and what might have appeared to be straight forward can unravel quickly.  If you need the help of a Calgary Family Lawyer, particularly if you have a child involved in the case, you may be searching for child custody lawyer in Calgary and you definitely will not want to compromise with the custody or parenting time of your child or your children.  It makes sense that you would search for the best possible Calgary Family Lawyer and you are sure to receive pages of results from Google, You have to make the determination for yourself in which lawyer you have the most confidence.  You should research the law firm.  You should research the lawyer.  You should ultimately select the lawyer whom you think is best for you in your case.  Making sure that you put in effort to choose the best lawyer for your situation is always a good idea.

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