We understand how emotionally, mentally, and financially draining a divorce can be. No one enters a marriage planning for or expecting it to fail; so, mentally preparing yourself for the divorce proceedings  and the paperwork it entails can be difficult. 

 

Family lawyers who practice in divorce areas strive to ease some of the stress that often comes with undertaking this process, offering support and guidance during these times. 

 

While your divorce lawyer in Calgary is your best resource for information on divorce proceedings, here are a few facts to help you get started. 

 

Starting Your Divorce Proceedings

 

Obtain A Divorce Application

 

Once you have decided to divorce from your spouse, your first step should be turning to a divorce lawyer. Everything in family law is paper-driven and they will be able to provide you with the necessary forms.

 

Review The Ground For Divorce

 

Before you file for divorce, it’s important that you have a comprehensive understanding of the three legal grounds for divorce, as outlined by the Divorce Act (Canada). They are:

 

One Year Separation: You and your spouse have lived a life separate and apart for at least one year.  You can file for the divorce before reaching that year but cannot have it finalized unless that one year has passed.  If financial or other family limitations restrict you from physically  living separately from one another, you must be able to prove that you were living a separate life from your spouse, as if you were unmarried, during that time.  

 

If you have had a one year separation from your spouse, you will be proceeding to divorce and will not be able to stop that process even if you don’t want it yourself.

 

Adultery: Adultery is when you or your spouse has sexual relations with a person who is not your spouse. Adultery must be proven in court, either with your direct evidence or with an affidavit signed by the person who committed adultery.  Often,  it is sufficient to demonstrate circumstantial evidence as very few people will be able to hire private investigators to catch either spouse on film, like in the movies and tv.  If adultery is proven, you may be able to obtain a divorce earlier than waiting for the one year separation period to have occurred.

 

Cruelty: Cruelty and be either mental, physical or both. Depending on the nature of the cruelty, it may only need to occur once  if significant enough to form the basis of a divorce.  The cruelty could include domestic violence, constant verbal abuse or belittling, or financial oppression. Your spouse’s cruelty makes a continued state of matrimony impossible and evidence must be shown proving the abuse.  

Determine The Type of Divorce

 

Next, determine whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is when both you and your spouse agree to the terms of the divorce, and can file a Joint Statement of Claim for Divorce. A contested divorce is when you and your spouse disagree on the reason for the divorce or its terms, thus requiring the Court to resolve each of the items of dispute.  Contested divorces can potentially be very costly and take a longer time to resolve.

 

Consider Your Children

 

If there are children involved, you will need to make an outline of how you view what parenting, custody, and child support may look like to you in order to have a comprehensive discussion with your divorce lawyer.  They can manage your expectations and ensure legally-acceptable claims are advanced on your behalf in a filed Statement of Claim for Divorce so that you will achieve successful outcomes.

 

In an uncontested divorce, you would discuss with your divorce lawyer the agreements you and your spouse have reached so they can be properly submitted to the Court in a Joint Statement of Claim for Divorce. Again, your divorce lawyer can advise these agreements will be accepted by the Court, in whole or in part, based on legislation and case authority.

 

File The Claim

 

Your divorce lawyer in Calgary will be with you every step of the way, but this last step is pivotal – once the Claim is completed, it must be filed with the  Courthouse and served on your spouse by a neutral third party, called a process server, within one year of filing.  Once these steps occur, your divorce proceedings will be officially underway.

 

There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal Family Lawyers. As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal Family Lawyers can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.

Family lawyers are often needed during emotionally charged moments of our lives, whether those moments be positive or negative. From adoptions and pre-nuptial agreements to divorce and child support arrangements, family lawyers can be a pillar of support and guidance during these times. 

 

While no one wants to pay more than they need to for legal fees, it’s also important that you choose a lawyer with whom you can develop a good relationship and whose advice you can trust. It is the same for any professional you engage, such as a doctor or a dentist. Therefore, let’s take a look at how much it may cost to hire a reputable family lawyer in Calgary.

 

Understanding The Cost Of A Family Lawyer In Calgary

 

When it comes to hiring family lawyers, there is, unfortunately, no schedule of fees that the lawyers follow. Fees are set by each lawyer and based on years of experience, whether they work in a small or large firm and even where their offices are located.

 

In Calgary, some lawyers choose to charge at an hourly rate that can range anywhere from $250 an hour to $650+ per hour. Others, meanwhile, may offer flat fees for certain types of services.  

 

Lawyers’ fees and retainers are typically discussed and established during your first meeting. It is at this time that you would sign a retainer agreement.

 

Ask yourself why you require a family lawyer. This may also influence the cost. Family law, by its nature, is complex and unpredictable, and the time it takes to reach a settlement or resolution with your former partner can vary greatly. Issues that simply require contracts and documents may perhaps cost less than those that necessitate several face-to-face meetings or Court applications. Naturally, the more time a family lawyer spends on a case, the more the cost will increase.

 

Why do lawyers cost that much?

 

Individuals often misconstrue how much time is actually spent on their case. While they may only meet with their lawyer for an hour each week, their family lawyer has been working diligently for hours, ensuring they are compiling and drafting all the information necessary to present the best case and achieve the best outcome for you.

 

Individuals also misunderstand what they are paying for when hiring a lawyer. It’s not like going into a car dealership, purchasing a car, and driving away with a tangible asset that can be touched. A lawyer’s work deals with intangibles – the thoughts, arguments, and case research to advance a case and obtain agreements, Court Orders, or Judgments. Occasionally, this does result in an individual clearly receiving a distribution of property or real estate, but, more often than not, it results in an entitlement to receive a benefit, such as parenting/access to children, child support, or spousal support.

 

It’s also important to remember that you’re not the only one making decisions. For every step you wish a lawyer to take, a former partner is also instructing their lawyer to take their own steps. This results in legal work to both advance your case and protect your interests from opposing steps; a conclusion to this process will be a complete resolution to your family dispute. Never be afraid to have ongoing discussions with your lawyer concerning your “game plan” and to help you understand the processes involved.

 

Family lawyers understand the emotional strain that comes with your case, and do their absolute best to minimize any stress and cost associated with it. 

 

If you are ever in a situation where you require legal assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a family lawyer. The cost of a lawyer is more than made up by the competency and peace of mind they can offer you in navigating the legal system.

 

There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal Family Lawyers. As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal Family Lawyers can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.

We get it – going through a separation can be an emotionally taxing experience. Naturally, it only makes sense that you would want as smooth a process as possible. Being thoroughly informed about your options can take some of the uncertainty away, as you can anticipate what to expect and the steps you may need to take.

 

When it comes to family separation agreements in Calgary, there are several aspects you will want to consider. Let’s explore what they may entail, as well as how you can prepare an effective document.

 

Understanding Family Separation Agreements

 

What To Include in a Separation Agreement

 

A separation agreement is a legal contract between a couple that outlines how they have chosen to settle their issues. When referring to a couple, this can apply to partners who are either married, in a common-law relationship, or in an adult interdependent partnership.

 

As a note, you do not need a separation agreement to separate. However, clear communication and a written record of your decisions may prevent confusion down the road and help avoid potential court visits, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.

 

The Government of Canada recommends that a separation agreement include details such as:

 

  • Living arrangements;
  • How you’ll divide property;
  • How you’ll divide debts;
  • If spousal support will be paid;
  • Custody of children;
  • Parenting of children;
  • Child support payments.

 

When referring to property, it can include:

 

  • Joint or separate bank accounts;
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans;
  • Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
  • Your home and its contents;
  • Second homes/recreational properties;
  • Investments ;
  • Canada Pension Plan ;
  • Employer-sponsored pensions;
  • Vehicles;
  • Pets;
  • Insurance plans.

Separation agreement form on an office table.

 

When referring to debts, this can include:

 

  • A mortgage;
  • A personal loan or line of credit;
  • Credit card debt;
  • Vehicle loans.

 

It is recommended that you work to divide your finances sooner rather than later. In some provinces, you may lose your claim to a share of the property if you wait too long to make your claim following your separation.

 

Who Can Prepare a Separation Agreement?

 

Separation agreements can be drafted on your own, provided you understand what schedules need to be attached to be effective.  In all cases, however, both partners will require a certificate of independent advice to ensure each fully understands what they are signing and the legal ramifications of it. Including legal representation in the process and having them prepare the agreement is recommended. Family lawyers have years of experience handling such situations, so they are better able to understand what considerations you should make and what details should be included in the agreement.

 

Reputable family lawyers are able to provide impartial guidance while also showing kindness and empathy during such a difficult time in your life. If you are ever in need of a separation agreement in Calgary, a good lawyer will help make the decision-making process easier and ensure you are satisfied with the outcome.

 

There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal Family Lawyers. As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal Family Lawyers can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.  

Let’s face it – when you become involved in legal disputes, you need an experienced and passionate family lawyer in Calgary to support you. 


Whether it’s separation or divorce, child custody, parenting, support issues or executing or even challenging wills and estates, obtaining legal counsel and guidance becomes crucial. 


However, there are plenty of lawyers in Calgary and the surrounding area, making the selection process challenging and often overwhelming. 


Fortunately, with a little planning and insight, your search can be simplified— this guide will help to find the right family lawyer for you. 


 

Your Guide To Finding a Family Lawyer in Calgary 

 

Know Your Goals 

Take some time to think about the ideal outcome you wish for your situation. 


For example, if you wish to have a non-confrontational divorce, look for a family lawyer with a reputation for being supportive and empathetic. In a situation like this, you wouldn’t want a super aggressive and forceful lawyer, as it might set the wrong tone and derail your goals. 


Thinking about those goals can help to know what to look for in a lawyer. Make sure you consider the following: 

 

  • Their experience in cases similar to yours;
  • Their reputation in the field; 
  • Their approach to cases and family law generally;
  • If you believe you are receiving a straightforward and honest assessment about what they can realistically do for you. 

Ask the Right People for the Right Recommendations 

You might know some friends, family members or colleagues, that have worked with family lawyers in the past. Ask them about their individual experience with their lawyer and how he/she approached their situation can provide valuable insight into what you may expect. 


If you don’t know anyone who has used a family lawyer, you can refer to legal directories that can help you find lawyers within your community and for your particular legal matters. 


You can contact the Law Society of Alberta lawyer referral line, Calgary Legal Guidance, the Canadian Bar Association or, if you qualify for coverage,  Legal Aid Alberta to help with your search. 


(Mediation can be helpful for spouses or partners separating. Read our guide to see how it can help you

 

Research the Lawyers Or/And Their Firms 

Conduct research into the lawyers and/or their family law firms to see if they match your goals and ideals.  


Check their firm website to determine if they have the capability to support your issues. Read blog posts and articles, check their practice areas and biographies. This will give you a better sense of their experience, services and approach.  


See how many members are part of their team and their experience and training, noting their certifications and any past cases, if indicated. Research online for news-related articles and reviews from Google and social media platforms can give you more insight into each lawyer’s reputation. 


Consider all of the information together to determine if you believe the lawyer you have in mind is right for you. 

 

Schedule Time For a Consultation

Since a family lawyer will play a vital role in life-changing outcomes for you, it’s important to talk with them directly. Schedule an initial consultation by telephone, zoom or in person. Many will offer some consultation time for free, while others might charge a small fee. 

Female carer treating senior couple

Before the consultation, note down important questions that you would like to ask. Some examples include: 


  • What is your fee structure? Flat fee or on an hourly basis?
  • How much is the retainer? 
  • Do you have experience with cases like mine? 
  • What is the timeline for this situation to be finalized? 
  • What is your success rate? 
  • How do you approach cases like mine? 

During the consultation, note down the responses. It can help to make your selection easier. 

 

Choose A Family Law Firm Where You Feel Comfortable 

Most importantly, during the consultation, take note of how you feel when speaking to the lawyer. 


Are they supportive, transparent and open? Do they provide you with a direct answer or not? Do they inflate your possible outcomes, or are they honest in attempting to manage your expectations? Are they giving you time to think about retaining you or are they pressuring you to retain them quickly? 


Please pay attention to how the lawyers communicate with you and how you feel working with them. It’s important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer and that they offer you support and competency during this difficult time. 


If you don’t feel comfortable following your consultation, it’s best to continue your search – you will find a lawyer who is the best fit for you and your situation.


There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal.  As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.   

We understand that going through a separation can be an emotional, overwhelming, and mentally and physically demanding time. You could feel that your whole world is coming apart, particularly if your separation gets difficult and, sadly, results in litigious Court proceedings.

 

Thankfully, there is a process that can help – family law mediation.

 

In this article, we discuss what family law mediation is and how it can help you get through your separation.

What is Family Law Mediation?

Mediation is a method of dispute resolution that is used as an alternative to Court proceedings. Parties on both sides of the separation or divorce (you and your partner) meet with a mediator to resolve legal issues without going to Court. 

 

The mediation can cover any issues you both agree upon, including child parenting, child and spousal support, and division of property and debts. 

 

The process is conducted in a confidential, timely and cost-efficient manner with the support of a neutral and impartial third party, the mediator. The mediator cannot take sides or provide you or your partner/spouse with any legal advice; the mediator  is strictly there to guide you and assist you in reaching a settlement while avoiding a costly Court process.

 

It is advisable that you have your family lawyer present during this process to answer your questions as well as provide sound legal advice and representation.  

mediation calgary

After the negotiations, all decisions will be reflected in a written contract called a Separation Agreement.

 

Both parties sign the contract, with witnesses and certificate signed by each party’s lawyer, and at that point it becomes a valid, binding and enforceable contract. This means that the Court will honour and respect the agreement as if it were a Court Order. 

 

Mediation, however, is voluntary and cannot be forced, meaning that you and your partner/spouse must both agree to mediation and the time frame during which it is to be completed.   

How Can Mediation Help You?

Mediation can provide an incredible sense of relief as it helps both parties to save time and money and it is also more efficient than a court process.  It can also be entered into at any time during your separation and can even cool down the temperature between yourself and your Ex. 

 

Most significantly, it can reduce the emotional and psychological damage that occurs during divorce, stemming from an inherently adversarial litigation process.   It reduces the potential for negative outcomes in Court, which seldom has the flexibility to tailor a process to suit  your individual family dynamics.

 

Mediation is very non-adversarial and does not pit the parties against one another; instead it focuses on finding a balance between partners/spouses. This can be particularly helpful for child parenting cases, as children will not be exposed to hostility between their parents. 

It promotes resolution by allowing the parties to work together and discuss solutions where both parties feel that they reached a balanced and respectful result. In many cases, the ability to communicate freely and openly enables partners or spouses to improve their post-divorce relationship, making it an easier transition for both of them.

Hiring a Mediator in Calgary

If you and your partner or spouse have agreed to hire a mediator, you must both decide who that person will be.  Hiring a mediator is a joint decision, ensuring that person chosen appreciates both views evenly and fairly. 

 

Consider the following when hiring a mediator in Calgary

  • Experience in cases like yours and family law in general; 
  • Listens to both you and your significant other;
  • Explains things in a clear and concise manner;
  • Makes you feel comfortable and supported;
  • Answers questions about the process;
  • Has mediation training, accreditation or certification.

 

Please ensure you conduct your research thoroughly and ask questions to find the mediator that can be the best fit for you and your partner/spouse; this will help  you to reach positive outcomes. 

 

There is a brighter future ahead with McLean Legal.  As your dynamic, multi-service family law firm in Calgary, McLean Legal can offer you personalized legal services tailored to your particular circumstances. We endeavour to resolve matters quickly and with minimal conflict, offering calm, professional, and realistic advice. Given our years of experience in family law, we can assist with your child support, spousal support, divorce, mediation and separation agreements, as well as civil litigation issues, commercial/corporate services, and real estate transactions. With over 30 years of experience and success, we’re the Calgary family lawyers that offer you a brighter future. Book your free consultation by calling 587-353-2632.