Understanding Calgary Divorce Law: Part 6
December 11, 2015
We take our role as legal advocates for the people of Calgary very seriously here at GDE Family Law. Our commitment extends beyond giving each of our Calgary clients the personal, compassionate, and vigorous legal representation they deserve—we've also dedicated ourselves to educating everyone in Calgary with freely available information regarding family law and the divorce process, right here on our website.
This article series has introduced the basic law governing all Calgary divorces—the Divorce Act—as well as specifics such as the three legal grounds for a divorce recognized under the law (separation, adultery, and cruelty), the requirement to file initial divorce paperwork with the Calgary courts, and the alternative dispute resolution or ADR process. When alternative dispute resolution is successful, it tends to be much faster and less expensive and stressful than a divorce whose details are hammered out in court in front of a judge.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where a mostly amicable resolution cannot be achieved, and in these cases a more adversarial divorce process might become necessary. While this is not an ideal situation—as indeed, no divorce ever is—it is a very manageable situation. With a strong legal advocate by your side, you can still get a fair and reasonable outcome that allows you to move on to the next phase of your life in one piece.
Divorce Proceedings in a Calgary Courtroom
During alternative dispute resolution, both parties to a divorce sit down (accompanied by their lawyers) with a facilitator or mediator acting as a neutral third party who assist in splitting assets and setting the terms of any ongoing support in a way that's fair to both parties. In a divorce proceeding that takes place in court, the judge acts as the neutral third party while each spouse's divorce lawyer makes the case for their client's desired split of assets, etc. The judge applies the law in light of the arguments made, and has a fair amount of discretion in determining what is right based on current assets, prior income, and so forth.
In cases where children are involved, the judge has a primary duty to ensure their well-being. This includes setting the terms of legal custody and ensuring that the asset allocation and ongoing support orders will maintain their welfare. Spouses can reach agreements regarding these and other issues themselves during ADR (though a judge will still have to approve the final agreement), but when a judge presides over the divorce they have the ability to order custody arrangements and asset splits that one or both spouses might object to.
A full understanding of your family's assets, incomes, and previous child care arrangements is essential in reaching a fair outcome.
A Calgary Divorce Lawyer for Your Courtroom Divorce
While we believe ADR is in our clients' best interests whenever possible, we aggressively represent our clients in court when that proves necessary. If you are ready to file for divorce or are facing a court battle that you weren't expecting, contact an experienced and passionate Calgary divorce lawyer at GDE Family Law today.
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