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Free Separation & Divorce Resources

Simple Steps to Getting a Legal Separation Agreement in Alberta

Learn simple steps to getting a Legal Separation Agreement the friendly and affordable way.  Go to the right of this blog and opt-in for your free guide now.  This free guide includes:

  • tips and strategies for keeping it friendly;
  • answers to commonly asked questions; and
  • links of free resources (some of the free resources are also listed below…check the free guide for more!).

Property Workbook

When you download your free guide as described above, you’ll automatically be given a free workbook that will help you begin the process of collecting all of your financial documents.

Parenting after Separation Seminar

You and your spouse may want to take the free 3-hour Online Parenting After Separation Seminar. The facilitators help parents understand how to minimize the impact of separation on children, and offer general information (rights and responsibilities) about custody, access and child support. This seminar is mandatory if you have dependent children under the age of 16 and are filing for a divorce.  An exemption can be obtained in limited circumstances.

Click the link to attend your free online seminar: http://pas.albertacourts.ab.ca/

Family Law Information Centre (operated by Family Justice Services)

The Family Law Information Centre at the Court House can confirm child support calculations and standard of living tests—all for free, which take into account the incomes of both parties after payment of government source deductions, payment/receipt of spousal support and payment/receipt of child support.  Standard of living tests are only applied in certain circumstances.

We also provide you with a copy of these calculations that you can take to your lawyer, along with your Separation Agreement (if we draft if for you) for review and advice.

You can also find the following free online lookups:

• Federal Child Support Guideline Calculator Short Link: http://bit.ly/1mYulLT

Child and Spousal Support Calculations

• MySupportCalculator.ca for child and spousal support calculations. Short Link: http://mysupportcalculator.ca

Child Tax Credits and GST Credits

Curious as to how much child tax credits will increase or decrease as a result of separation. Or, how much in GST credits you might qualify for? Though this is not likely to affect the division of things, if you find out that your child tax credits will increase a hundred or two, it might reduce your stress a little. Check here for free online calculators:

Canada Revenue Agency CCTC and GST Benefits Calculator

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/benefits-calculator/

Benefits may increase for the primary caregiver or decrease for the payor of child support.

What’s Next?

Not sure what to do next?  Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.  Calgary:  403-229-2774   Elsewhere in Alberta:  1-800-320-2477.


ADVERSARIAL LEGAL SERVICES VS. COLLABORATION

It’s tough dealing with the end of a relationship, even if the decision to separate is mutual. It does not need to be aggravated by an adversarial system that increases conflict and financial strain.

By design, the system is adversarial—two advocates represent the best interests of their clients before an impartial judge whose job is to then determine the truth.
Though archaic, the adversarial system is necessary when parties won’t cooperate, can’t agree, or if one or both parties can’t be trusted.

I personally know a number of lawyers who refuse to take on contested Divorces. So, it’s not just consumers of legal services who dislike the adversarial system.

Trend Towards Collaboration

Fortunately, the trend towards uncontested Divorces is increasing. In 2010/2011, Statistics Canada reported that 80 percent of all Divorces were uncontested. Though the Separation Agreement that preceded it may have been contested, the fact that such a large percentage of Divorces are uncontested is promising.

A few of the reasons contributing to the trend towards collaborative Separation Agreements and Uncontested Divorces include:

  • fewer dependencies due to a larger number of women entering the workforce;
  • the right of fathers to share in parenting has been accepted;
  • as women’s lives are no longer defined by their children (since more are working), the idea of sharing parenting time with the father is more acceptable;
  • more educated consumers, thanks to the internet; and
  • Federal Child Support Guidelines which take out the subjectivity of child support calculations

Download Your Free Guide

Look to the right.  Please opt-in and obtain your free Guide.

The purpose of this Guide is to help you reduce the burden of usual legal practices that are adversarial, inefficient, complicated and costly—yet still provide you with the benefit and protection from receiving independent legal advice from your lawyer, if a lawyer is needed in your particular case. By educating you as to how the collaborative Separation and Divorce process can work, you avoid finding yourself in an adversarial system or reduce (maybe eliminate) unnecessary conflict.

Proceeding through the adversarial system can eliminate any chance of reconciliation; damage relationships involving children, common friends and social activities; and aggravate the financial consequences of separation and divorce even further. At one time both parties shared the cost of one household. Upon Separation the parties now have to support two households. Lifestyles will decline. Spending thousands of dollars on legal fees will make this worse. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it might also be on your children (though some have told me that it sometimes can be easier on children when parties separate and there is less fighting).