How To Start Divorce Proceedings

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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.  

divorce proceedings

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.

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