Before you file a Statement of Claim for Divorce

alberta divorce law

You have made up your mind about filing for divorce, now you are at a point where you start to research the “how.” Keep reading and you’ll be on your way.

Endings are also beginnings, we just don’t realize it at that very moment. While you may end an existing relationship, you are on the verge of starting something new. The processes for such settlement of cases are filed through the Alberta courts in a detailed and systematic way. It all starts with filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta.

Here are some important things you need to know when completing the Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta document.

Matrimonial Property (now called Family Property)

Family property either inherited or purchased is an area that requires due attention. Your first step here is to collect what is called financial disclosure. In other words, you need to not only know but also obtain records of what you own (your assets), but also you owe (your debt and liabilities).

It takes a lot of work to collect all this information, but it’s vital to calculating how all of that will be divided between you and your spouse. A divorce financial advisor can help you make sense of all this information, and explain to you how things are divided according to the Matrimonial Property Act. If you have substantial assets and/or liabilities, it is important to do that ground work before filing the Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta.

The Division of Parenting Time

Financial support, custody and parenting arrangements are areas that need to be agreed on or proposed prior to submitting the Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta. You may already be physically separated from your spouse, and have a parenting plan that works. If so, include the details of that plan in your Statement of Claim.

The clause you include under “proposed custody” can be as simple as “Custody is to be shared, with the children living with the Plaintiff and Defendant an equal amount of time, alternating on a weekly basis.”

If you don’t have an existing plan in place, it is best that you come to that consensus before you file the Alberta Statement of Claim for Divorce. While the Statement of Claim form is straightforward, it’s important to address arrangements that you eventually wish to be ordered on your final Divorce Judgment.

Spousal Support

If you are the one who is filing the Statement of Claim, you may or may not choose to seek spousal support. It may be that you need support to get you on your feet while you find a suitable job or change your living arrangements. Spousal Support, however, is not an automatic entitlement. There are specific factors that when combined, allow one to apply for spousal support. It is case dependent and if you think you qualify for Spousal Support, seek legal advice or discuss your situation with a divorce financial advisor.

Professional help

The Statement of Claim serves as the basis for all the subsequent divorce documents. It is very important that’s it’s filled out with the correct information, and that the children and spousal clauses are clear and to the point. The language of the Statement of Claim should conform to the Divorce Act. A small mistake, such as misspelling a child’s name or naming the type of custody incorrectly, will create problems for you when you attempt to file the follow up documents. If you’re not sure whether you are filling the document correctly, seek professional help. It will be worth it.

Notice and Information

The last page in the Statement of Claim for Divorce in Alberta has information for the person receiving the document (the defendant). So many people don’t read all the way to the end of the document when they are served with it, however for a defendant, it’s the most important piece of information in the entire document. This part covers your rights and responsibilities as a defendant, as well as lists your options if you choose to respond.

The Statement of Claim for Divorce is the most important document in the divorce filing process. When preparing one, make sure you use a computer form, fill out the information accurately, and state your proposed custody, parenting, and child support arrangements properly and clearly.

Contact me if you have more questions!

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