Getting a divorce is never easy, emotionally or financially. The fact that you have reached this point means you have probably already gone through a great deal of stress. Now, you want to move forward with your divorce as quickly and as trouble-free as possible. Fortunately, filing for divorce in Alberta can be relatively straightforward. If you qualify, you only need to fill out the appropriate divorce papers and submit them to the court. Completing your Alberta divorce papers online with CompleteCase.com can the process even simpler. With our form preparation service, you’ll know you are submitting the right documents and that they are filled out correctly from the beginning.
How complicated your divorce is will determine how long and how expensive it is. If you are seeking an uncontested divorce, one where you agree with your spouse on all issues such as child support, child custody and property division, your divorce shouldn’t take much time to finalize. If you do not agree on any important issues, the court will need to make a final decision, which can take time.
One of the least expensive ways to resolve divorce-related issues is through divorce mediation. Mediation in Alberta allows you to meet with your spouse and a professional mediator, someone trained in helping divorcing couples reach agreements. Mediation is usually faster and cheaper than an extensive court dispute.
The following information will help you understand the basics of divorce in Alberta, allowing you to move forward with your own divorce when you are ready to do so.
According to Statistics Canada, the divorce rate in Alberta in 2008 was 24.7 for every 10,000 residents. This rate places Alberta on the upper end of divorce rates by province and territory, although there is one territory that has a higher rate – the Yukon Territory.
Alberta accepts two fault-based grounds for divorce and one no-fault ground. Adultery and extreme cruelty are acceptable fault-based grounds, while living separate and apart due to the marriage not working is the acceptable no-fault ground. Most people choose to go with a no-fault divorce because it avoids the need to place blame, and it is usually the least expensive and fastest way to get divorced. You or your spouse must live in Alberta for a year before you are allowed to apply for divorce in the province.
The specific divorce paperwork you complete in your application will vary depending on your individual circumstances. The forms are different for a divorce with no children, for instance, than for a divorce with children. The basic initial form for filing for divorce is the “Statement of Claim for Divorce”, which is the form you first file to begin the process.
The Alberta Courts website has a page that contains all of the various court forms related to divorce. Here you can find a wide range of forms for different types of divorce, including uncontested divorce without children, uncontested divorce with children, joint divorce and more.
If you find the options available to you a little confusing and overwhelming, understand that this is normal. Without legal training or direct prior experience it can be difficult to determine which forms you should fill out and how you should fill them out. For many couples in Alberta, the easiest option is to get their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com. With CompleteCase.com, there is no question of whether you are filling out the right forms or not. You get guidance in choosing forms and completing them, allowing you to move forward with confidence.
The Court of Queen's Bench handles all divorce matters in the province. There are courts in a number of locations throughout the province. The Alberta Courts website has a useful map to help you determine where the court is that is closest to you for you to file your divorce papers.
When you go to file your divorce papers whether completed online or otherwise, be sure to make at least two copies of each form. You will want one copy for your records, one to serve to your spouse and one to file with the court. You will also need to bring payment for the application, which is currently $260. This fee is subject to change though, so it is always advisable to call ahead and verify that you are bringing the correct forms and the correct payment amount. When you pay your fee, the clerk will take one set of your divorce documents and will help you to stamp and label them with your file number.
What happens next will depend on your specific circumstances. If you filed jointly with your spouse, you will not need to serve copies of the divorce papers. If you did not file jointly, the clerk will tell you to make sure you serve copies to your spouse in order for the application to be processed. The clerk will also let you know about what will happen next for your specific case.
When you “serve” divorce papers, you are simply delivering copies of the documents to your spouse. The service process is an important part of the legal system, allowing all parties a chance to respond and to take part in the proceedings.
Alberta does not allow you to serve your spouse personally, so you will need to find someone else to deliver the documents. The person who serves the papers must be over 18 and not part of the divorce. You can also hire a private process server if you do not want to ask a friend or relative to serve the papers. The private process server will charge a fee for the service, but in exchange you will have the assistance of a professional in delivering the documents. After the papers have been served, the person that served the papers will need to complete an Affidavit of Service, which you will submit to the court to complete the filing process.