Common Questions in Calgary Divorces: Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
January 9, 2017
Though no one in Calgary plans on getting a divorce when they get married, divorces are a common occurrence in the Calgary Court. So common, in fact, that many people think they must be easy enough to handle on their own. Especially if they're undergoing what's known as an "uncontested divorce," they may think that an experienced divorce lawyer is not only unnecessary but even detrimental.
Nothing could be further from the truth. On a daily basis, a Calgary divorce lawyer deals with aspects of the law and other divorce-related issues that you may not even be aware of. And while an uncontested divorce may seem simple, it's still important to have a lawyer by your side before you sign anything.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Calgary?
First, it's important to understand what an "uncontested divorce" is. When a divorce is uncontested, it means that the two ex-spouses have come to a mutual agreement regarding all aspects of their divorce and the split of any property, support arrangements (or "alimony"), etc. All that's required is to fill out the necessary paperwork and file it with the Court, and you may not ever have to appear before a judge.
Many couples in Calgary going through a divorce use a process known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, to work out an agreement without appearing in Court. In this process, a neutral mediator works with both ex-spouses to determine a fair outcome in terms of property ownership, residence, and other financial and practical matters. ADR can also help establish agreements regarding child custody, child support, and spousal support. If an agreement is reached via ADR, the divorce can be filed with the Court and will essentially be treated as an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce, in contrast, is a divorce where the two ex-spouses cannot reach an agreement, either between themselves or using ADR, and end up arguing over assets and other arrangements before a judge.
How Lawyers Can Help in an Uncontested Divorce/ADR
Not only are you entitled to have your own experienced Calgary divorce lawyer by your side during the ADR process, but it is highly recommended by virtually every legal professional and ADR mediator in the Calgary area. Mediators are neutral, but your lawyer will have your best interests in mind. They will ensure you get a fair deal, and don't agree to things that may harm your future potential or limit your rights and options.
The same applies in uncontested divorces that don't plan on using the ADR process. Having a lawyer review your tentative agreement in light of your assets, income, and other factors will help to ensure that your agreement is fair and gives you the best possible way forward.
There's No Substitute for a Good Calgary Divorce Lawyer
No matter what the circumstances of your Calgary divorce are, an experienced lawyer's help is always a good idea. For answers to questions about your unique divorce, contact our office today.
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