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Grounds for divorce in Alberta

Love stories begin in many ways. You may know happily married couples who dated since high school and others who married after a whirlwind romance. Periodically, you may hear of a new study where researchers are trying to find what factors make a marriage last and what are the common reasons for divorce.

Ending a marriage is not always an easy choice. The law considers marriage a solemn institution, which is why it may seem unduly complicated to dissolve the bonds. Nevertheless, in Alberta, you have several options for divorcing your spouse. It is important that you understand the process for divorce and your rights from beginning to end, including those related to any children you and your spouse may have.

Ground for divorce

In Alberta, the courts accept three legal grounds for divorce. Whichever best fits your situation, you will have to demonstrate to the court that the circumstances have created an irreparable breach in your relationship. The first reason is adultery. If your spouse has had a physical relationship with someone else, you may file for divorce as soon as you learn of the infidelity. You will have to provide the court with evidence of the affair or indiscretion unless your spouse does not contest the grounds.

Cruelty is another legal justification for divorce. This does not have to be an ongoing pattern of abuse, but if your spouse was violent or verbally abusive even once, you have the right to seek a divorce. Additionally, the court considers drunkenness and drug abuse to be a form of cruelty, especially if your spouse refuses to seek treatment. As with adultery, you must provide evidence of cruelty.

Separation

The third grounds for divorce in Alberta is separation. If your spouse moved out of the house and you lived apart for at least one year, the court may approve your divorce. You may begin the steps toward divorce during the time of separation, but the divorce judgment cannot occur before the one-year mark passes. Additionally, separation does not have to be physical. You and your spouse may be financially unable to live apart, so you will have to provide evidence of separation while living in the same house.

You and your spouse may be able to work out the details of your divorce, such as child custody and asset division. This would mean your divorce is uncontested. However, reaching an agreement that is fair and providing the court with sufficient grounds for your divorce may be among the steps for which you would benefit from the guidance of a legal professional.

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