Family law is concerned with the protection and the rights and responsibilities of parents, spouses separating, spouses getting divorced, whether or not there were children involved in the relationship, or children of the marriage. Parental rights, spousal rights, and responsibilities, are all governed by the law in the Calgary family courts. You can go it alone; there is no requirement that you be represented by legal counsel to go to court. However, Calgary Family Lawyers are highly trained professionals who studied for years at university to learn the law. There is no requirement that you have a lawyer, but if you think about it you will go to court unrepresented and you will not know what the court is looking for the best evidence to prove your position. A Calgary Family Lawyer has the years of university training, the on the job practical experience of being in court, and then seeing what the judges of the court are looking for in having handled numerous cases, all of that experience can be put to work for you. Your Calgary Family Lawyer is going to filter your evidence to be cast in the best possible light to attempt to get you the outcome that you so desire. There may be factors and considerations of which you are not aware where your lawyer will extract that evidence from you and without the lawyer you would be totally unaware and you would not put that evidence before the court. It may be the specific most important thing that the court is looking for, but you may be overlooking it and understandably so because you are not trained to know what the court wants to hear from you. You would be well advised to have a lawyer in whom you trust help you to best handle your case. Do not be surprised if you get a different outcome with different lawyers or going it alone.
The courts deal with issues of the breakdown of your relationship with your other spouse, your relationship with your children, and the entire relationship of the family. It is such an important issue in your life. It is perhaps the most important issue. It is the most important thing if you compare it to any other kind of legal case which may involve money, business, but now we are talking about your family and your relationships. You cannot put a money value on that.
Family law in Alberta and throughout Canada has governing legislation to the Divorce Act, the Alberta Family Law Act, and also the precedent which is really judge-made law which also governs. A good Calgary Family Lawyer will be well versed in all of the law and will know from experience what the judges of the Calgary courts are looking for. You will not know these things, at least not to the same extent as a well trained and experienced Calgary Family Law Lawyer. This is commonsense.
If you are facing issues of parenting time, child support, spousal support, or any other issues related to a marriage or common-law relationship which is breaking down, you should speak to a Calgary Family Law Lawyer and get some advice.
There are also the monetary issues, there may be assets to divide, there may be debts to be addressed, all of this requires guidance.
When one parent has custody of the child, he or she can make all decisions for the child. If the parents have “joint custody”, it means that they share in the decision-making. Here we are referring to such things as:
- Medical care
- Should the child get braces
- Should the child play hockey or football
- Should the child be in dance or ballet
- Should the child be a vegan or what should the diet of the child be
- Should the child have sugar restricted
- There is no limit to the number of things that could come up.
We speak in Canada of joint custody or sole custody. And custody is different than parenting time. One thinks of custody in terms of the dictionary definition like ownership but that does not really apply in a family law scenario. We are talking about decision making when we are talking about custody.
It may not seem important but it really is. Because, if you have no custody, then forget about your capacity to make any decisions and you may later have a strong disagreement with the former spouse about the way that they are raising the child and the decisions that are being taken. Unless you have join custody or sole custody, you have no legal capacity to question anything.
This was deal with elsewhere. Please see the other section. It depends on capacity to pay, the relative parenting time, the Child Support Guidelines. Judges might consider other factors and the following might affect the amount of the child support payment:
- Special expenses like daycare
- Parenting arrangements where expenses come into play, like lengthy travel expenses, et cetera
- Financial difficulties of the payor parent to pay child support
- Parenting arrangements which may change over time, particularly when the children are teenaged or above the age of 18
- Is the child continuing education past the age of 18 or the age of majority, is the child in university or college past the age of 18, et cetera.
Spousal support may apply whether the partners were married or shared a common-law relationship. The partner who has the higher income will typically be ordered on some interim or permanent basis to support the other partner who was earning less. The partner who gets support will be known as the spousal support recipient and the partner who pays the support will be known as the spousal support payor. The courts will have regard to all relevant factors but some of them are as follows:
- A balanced contribution in the relationship
- Whether there were children and whether one of the spouses has forgone financial or career paths to support and raise the children
- The courts generally want the parties to become independent over time financially.
Speak to a Calgary Family Law Lawyer to see if you may be entitled to spousal support or whether you may be ordered to pay spousal support. You may have been served with an application and in that case you will have strict timelines to respond. Call a lawyer right away.
And, if you have just separated, and you were the spouse earning less money, you should speak to a lawyer right away because, if you do not make a quick application to the court, the court will later look at that and may say “well, you had no need for support or you would have applied sooner”. You should speak to a lawyer before leaving your matrimonial home because you may have the right to stay there indefinitely.
If you are just recently separated or considering separation, whether you think you would be the spousal support recipient or the spousal support payor, in either event it is a good idea to lawyer up, or at least get some advice right away. What you do in the days immediately following the separation can have a huge impact on the final outcomes.
Other Family Law Issues
There may be other family law issues in your case. We handle cases of birth and adoption issues, there may be issues of paternity particularly with unmarried couples or one night stands, we handle any kind of court application you may be facing or may wish to make. We handle common-law relationships as well as married relationships, separation and divorce, partner abuse, restraining orders or peace bonds, et cetera. If you want to know more, contact us for a free telephone consultation about your case.