Getting a divorce in Alberta is not an easy process, but with the help of this article, you can make it much more manageable. We have outlined 5 steps that will guide you through the process of how to get a divorce in Alberta. By following these steps and using our checklist for what documents are required, you can save yourself time and money by getting everything done correctly from the start. Or consult with a professional lawyer to get and effective advice.
What are the 5 Steps to Get Divorce in Alberta?
Step 1: Claim for Divorce in Alberta
The first step to getting a divorce in Alberta is making a Claim for Divorce. The Claim for Divorce must be filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench within one (1) year of your residency in Alberta; otherwise, you will need consent from your spouse before moving forward.
In addition, if this is not an “Irretrievable Breakdown” marriage (meaning one or both parties have committed adultery, engaged in physical or mental abuse or any other factor that justifies the breakdown of your marriage), there needs to be at least one allegation made against the opposing party so you can access counselling and mediation services offered by the court.
You cannot get divorced without attending these classes either. If you do proceed without these services, you will not be entitled to spousal support.
Step 2: Divorce Judgment
You must wait at least 90 days after Claim for Divorce is filed before the court can grant a divorce judgment. This period allows both spouses ample opportunity to mediate their situation in a reconciliation attempt or attend any scheduled counselling sessions.
The Claim for Divorce form does not need to be served on your spouse, so the court cannot grant you a divorce judgment until these 90 days waiting period has passed and there are no outstanding issues requiring court action (i.e., missing information on Claim for Divorce form).
Once these conditions have been met, file the applicable forms with the Court of Queen’s Bench. As long as filing fees have been paid, the Claim for Divorce will be granted by default, and you will receive a divorce judgment within 30 days.
Step 3: Collection of Personal Financial Information
As part of the Claim for the Divorce process, you need to fill out form PFL-001 and provide your spouse with this information so they can file their Alberta tax return for the previous tax year.
Suppose either party resides in another province or country after getting divorced in Alberta. In that case, that person is responsible for filing a Non-Resident Tax Return and other provincial or federal tax returns related to income earned while living outside of Alberta. This includes whether one party earns property income (rents out an investment property) in any other province country.
Step 4: Claim for Support
Take note that if you have children with your spouse, a Claim for Divorce cannot be granted without first filing a Claim for Support. The Claim for Support is made through the Government of Alberta. It requires your spouse’s personal information and information on any income earned from employment or self-employment in the previous tax year.
Both parties are responsible for paying child support after getting divorced unless agreed upon in writing between both spouses before getting married. This Claim for Divorce does require supporting documentation such as recent bank statements, pay stubs, property deeds or titles, etc. If there was no written agreement beforehand, one party must show they earn enough money to support their dependents.
Step 5: File Divorce Certificate
Once the Claim for Divorce and Claim for Support are granted by the Court of Queen’s Bench, you obtain a Vital Statistics divorce certificate. This process takes approximately two weeks to complete. You will need that certificate to register your Divorce Judgment with Land Titles, so you can officially detach yourself from your spouse again.
Without this certificate, it is impossible to change an individual’s marital status on official documents such as credit card statements, tax returns (including child tax benefits), social security card or passport. Once this is completed, there may be additional steps to claim spousal support through Service Alberta, which we will explain another time.
How to Self-Represent yourself in Alberta Family Court
In Alberta, people can represent themselves in the Provincial Court and the Federal Courts as long as they know what they are doing and don’t have any problems following court rules or procedures. Some Judges prefer that parties have lawyers but do not prohibit self-representation outright.
For example, some Judges require a family law litigant to take on a lawyer if the matter involves questions of health, age, ability, or language. The claims made by both sides necessitate personal knowledge of one another.
How Do I Get a Separation Agreement in Alberta?
The following points will clear your idea about the separation agreement in Alberta.
- In Alberta, courts will only enforce separation agreements where all of the following conditions have been met.
- The spouses were fully informed about what they were signing; They received independent legal advice from their lawyers before signing it, and they signed the agreement voluntarily. There is no “cooling off period” to change their minds.
- Your separation agreement will only be enforceable if it was signed by both spouses voluntarily – that is, they’re not forced into signing it after some argument or threat.
What is the Cost to File for Divorce in Alberta?
The Canadian Federal Government sets the amount of money that each province must pay to process divorce cases. Each provincial government uses the money to pay for court personnel, lawyers, and clerks in a family law court. In Alberta, the cost of filing a divorce case is 260 CAD.
With the correct information, you are filing for a divorce in Alberta. We hope this blog post has helped you make sense of what is required and how to go about getting divorced in our province. If you have any questions or want more information on the process, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Pays for a Divorce in Alberta?
It depends on the case. When a couple agrees to get a divorce, it is called an uncontested divorce. In that case, no legal action will take place.
Do I Need a Separation Agreement to Get a Divorce in Alberta?
This is not necessary. However, if the judge accepts your divorce claim and grants a divorce order without one, you may be unable to enforce post-divorce orders, such as spousal support.