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Commonly asked questions about divorce, separation agreements, prenups, estate planning and much more

A myriad of questions arise when someone needs legal help with a Family Law matter or Wills & Estates law. The lawyers at CK Family Law can answer any questions you have - just one more reason why it makes sense to request an introductory consultation as soon as possible. In the interim, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Family Law legal matters, divorce and separation law, and Wills & Estates law.

General legal questions

How do I know which lawyer at CK Family Law I should call?
Read information about each lawyer on the individual web pages for James Carr and Christopher King. If you are still not sure or are unable to reach the person you want to speak with, contact one of the other lawyers.

I am not sure which lawyer is right for me. What should I do?
Contact one of the lawyers at CK Family Law and explain your situation and legal needs. That lawyer will address your needs or refer you to one of the others if that lawyer is in a better position to help you achieve a favourable outcome.

Is Family Law the same in every province?
No. All aspects of Family Law are not the same in every province.

Divorce and separation

When are spouses considered "separated"?
You are considered separated after you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for one year and you or your spouse intend to be separated. You can be living separate, but still reside in the same residence if the intention is that you are now living separate and apart.

What is the difference between a Contested and Uncontested divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses assert their desire to divorce and reach agreement on the terms of the divorce, which typically include property division, child custody and access, spousal payments and child payments. In a contested divorce, there is disagreement on one or more aspects of the divorce and a court trial may be needed to settle the disputes.

When is a divorce considered official?
When a Certificate of Divorce is issued by the court. This document proves that the divorce is legally complete.

Is it always necessary to go to court to achieve the best result in a divorce case?
No, it is often possible to achieve a result in a divorce matter that is satisfactory for both parties without going to court. For example, it is often possible to achieve success through mediation or collaborative law, both of which are offered by our Edmonton law firm.

Child custody and support

What does child access mean?
It means you have the right to see your children. Access is also known as visitation or parenting time.

What is the difference between Joint Custody and Sole Custody?
Joint Custody means a Court has decreed that custody is held jointly by both spouses. It is typically awarded when the spouses are still prepared to work together in the best interests of the child. Sole Custody means one spouse has the right and responsibility to make all decisions regarding the welfare of children. The other spouse has the right to be kept informed about what is being done to protect the welfare of children. Sole Custody does not address the issue of whom the child resides with, it solely relates to decision making.

What are maintenance or "support" payments?
The payments one spouse make to another to support that spouse or any children.

Spousal support

How is payment for spousal support received?
The support can come in the form of a fixed monthly sum, an annual payment or a lump sum.

What happens if a spouse fails to make court-ordered spousal support payments?
The Maintenance Enforcement Program is available to assist with the enforcement of child and/or spousal support orders. Consulting with an experienced Family Law lawyer increases your chances of achieving a favourable result.

Can you appeal a Judge's decision?
Yes, but you should have the assistance of an experienced Family Law lawyer.

What if the payor of Spousal support tries to escape payment by leaving the province?
The Court has the power to have the delinquent payor arrested or it could try to deter non-payment by leving escalating financial penalties. In addition, the Maintenance Enforcement Program has enforcement agreements with every other province, most of the United States and various other countries around the world.

Unmarried couples law

How is property division handled for unmarried couples?
If there is no cohabitation agreement, the division of property is based on two factors: what each common law spouse contributed at the time the relationship began and what they contributed thereafter. If there is a Cohabitation Agreement, Family Law does not apply and the terms of the agreement will determine the property split.

Can same-sex partners be adult interdependent partners under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act?
Yes, provided that they meet the same requirements that apply to male/female couples:

  • Lived with each other for at least three consecutive years
  • Had a child by birth or adoption
  • Signed a cohabitation agreement

When are the members of a common-law couple considered to be guardians of a child?
There are various scenarios:

  • the child was born during the period when the couple had lived together for 12 consecutive months
  • the couple were in an adult interdependent relationship when the child was born or after the birth of the child
  • Under the Family Law Act, there are a host of other circumstances under which a parent can be considered an automatic guardian of a child. If none of those conditions are met, the parent can apply to be appointed as a guardian of a child.

Can an adult interdependent partner apply for partner support?
Yes, but only if the partners have had a child (by birth or adoption) or have lived together continuously for at least three years.

How do your legal fees compare with the fees charged by lawyers in other Edmonton law firms?
You will find that our legal fees are very competitive. The lawyer who handles your case can provide a specific quote, based on your circumstances and legal needs.

Do you provide legal help for someone who has been in an unmarried relationship and wants to end that relationship?
Yes. If you decide to end the relationship, we can help you obtain a legal separation agreement that protects your interests. We can also protect your interests by creating a cohabitation agreement that is signed by both members of the relationship before they begin living together.

How do you deal with the "grey areas" in the law governing Adult Interdependent Relationships (Common Law relationships)?
This is when the help, guidance and support of a Family Law Lawyer at Carr, Quinn King is indispensable because there are no easy answers or simple solutions.

Wills & Estates law

What happens if I die without a will?
The division of your property is determined by the Wills and Succession Act (Alberta). An individual named by a judge will have limited control of your estate, but most decisions, including guardianship of children, will be determined by the provisions of the Wills and Succession Act.

How can I assure that my intentions regarding my property and health are followed if I become incapacitated?
You can appoint a person to make these decisions by setting up Powers of Attorney for Health and Property.

Is it possible to avoid probate?
Yes, if an asset is jointly held and the owner of the asset dies, the survivor gets ownership and can claim the asset by showing a valid death certificate.

Carr Quinn King, among the best law offices in Edmonton with attorneys for divorce and wills and estates planning

What you need to know about separation agreements, prenups, postnups and cohabitation agreements

Learn about the legal agreements that some couples choose to sign before they get married (prenuptial and postnuptial agreement) or enter into a living arrangement with another person (cohabitation agreement).   We can also be very helpful with the crafting of a separation agreement that suits both parties - and will stand up in court.

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Recently Separated?
Wondering what happens now?

If you have recently separated from your spouse, we strongly recommend that you seek out an Edmonton divorce lawyer for a consultation. It is important to get early advice (even before attending mediation if you and your spouse agree to go to mediation) regarding your rights and responsibilities.

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Edmonton Family Law Legal Team

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