Divorce is complicated. It’s especially complicated if you have a lot of assets, own a business, own intellectual property, or have children.
Working with a local divorce lawyer is the best way to protect yourself and your future. Mistakes can be costly. Our divorce attorneys can help you navigate your case to the most advantageous possible conclusion.
How do Alberta courts divide assets during a divorce?
The laws around dividing property during a divorce are deceptively simple. Each spouse has a right to half the marital property. So why do so many disputes arise?
In part, disputes arise because it’s not always easy to figure out what property is marital property and which is non marital property. In addition, dividing property isn’t as easy as adding up the value of all the assets and writing a check.
There may be some assets you want to keep in tact and which do not divide well, such as the family home or the business you’ve built from scratch. Some assets, like your retirement account, get devalued if you take distributions from them too soon. Both spouses might want the same asset.
These issues require clear goal setting and careful negotiations to navigate. There are many creative settlement solutions, but they take legal expertise to develop and offer. Settlements usually do offer the best results for both parties, but if it becomes necessary to litigate you also need an attorney who will help you make a case for your preferred solution to an Alberta divorce judge.
How do Alberta courts handle child custody and child support?
Alberta uses the Federal Child Support Guidelines. If you and your spouse have minor children then your settlement will need to include a child support arrangement that adheres to these guidelines. In some cases this is less straightforward as it may seem: if either spouse owns a business or has variable income setting payments can be harder. In addition, special needs children may need more support. Thus, child support is somewhat negotiable as long as it does not violate the guidelines.
As for child custody, the courts prefer arrangements that allow both parents to maintain a relationship with your children. Shared custody arrangements or joint custody arrangements with liberal parenting time for both parties are the most common. Courts only consider sole custody arrangements when there is clear proof that one parent is a danger to the other.
How do Alberta courts handle spousal support?
Either spouse may apply for spousal support. Judges will usually consult the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines take many factors into account when considering who gets spousal support, and how much, including the length of the marriage, the role each spouse played in the marriage, the differences in income between the spouses, whether one spouse is already paying child support to the other, and more.
Prior to going to court, spousal support is negotiable. We can help you work out a spousal support deal that works for you. There are many options, including lump sum payments or exchanging regular payments for a greater or lesser share of the assets.
Why Merchant Law?
Take advantage of a group of attorneys with decades of experience and backgrounds in real estate law, business law, and civil law, which ensures that we have the breadth of knowledge that it takes to offer real solutions to complex divorce issues.
Ready to get started? Call (403) 237-7777 today.