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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

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.

Family law: The link between divorce and health

A marital breakdown can be difficult in the best of circumstances and many people facing divorce may be impacted by this life-altering happening in a number of ways. Thankfully, British Columbia residents have family law tools at their disposal to help them through what may be one of the most trying times in their lives. A new study has found that those going through a divorce may be impacted healthwise.

The study showed that the more content and happy people were with their lives, the likelier they were to take care of themselves. On the other hand, the stressors of divorce may have the opposite effect and could lead people to more unhealthy habits like smoking and having a sedentary lifestyle. The study suggested that divorced individuals were more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviours since they no longer had partners to hold them accountable for their health choices.

How Alberta teachers can help with children's issues in divorce

There may be nothing more difficult for some children to endure than the divorce of their parents. When it comes to children's issues in Alberta, divorce is high on the list of things that can wreak havoc for kids, but since teachers play an integral part in children's lives, they may be able to help in these often emotionally-tough situations for their students whose parents are facing divorce. Often, children will open up to a trusted teacher with whom they feel safe.

Since teachers are with children a good part of the day during the week, they may have added insight into how children are feeling and how they are processing the life changes they are undergoing. A teacher may be able to impart this information to parents to help children get through tough times. If there are marked changes in a child's behavior -- such as acting out when it is unlike the child -- a teacher may be able to offer help and guidance.

Children's issues: Dealing with parental alienation

When parents' marriages end in divorce, often children are caught in the middle. When it comes to children's issues in Alberta, although parents are obligated to children's best interests first, there may be times when one parent pits the children against the other.  This may be something that causes parental alienation and which makes custody issues even more tenuous.

Often allegations against one parent are used against the other in family court where many decisions are made regarding child custody. In fact, 20% of these types of cases end up before a family court judge and many of them include allegations of domestic abuse. For decades judges have had to make the distinction between true parental alienation cases and those where child abuse or conjugal violence has actually been taking place.

Division of property inclusions, exclusions in British Columbia

Couples who are married or who are living together and decide to end their relationships have many issues to consider, and one is how to divide what they jointly own. When couples decide to divorce or to separate and they own property, they must discuss the division of property as part of a divorce settlement or separation agreement. In British Columbia the same rules apply to couples who are married and those who have been in a common law union for two or more years. 

There are two types of property with which couples must deal -- excluded and family. Family property must be shared equally between the couple unless there is an agreement in place that states otherwise. Family property includes everything the couple shared together or individually on the date they separate. That can include real estate, life insurance policies, RRSPs, pensions and any investments. Excluded property includes anything one person owned before the relationship began, any gifts or inheritance one person received during the relationship or many types of damage awards or insurance claim proceeds. 

Family law: Negotiating a settlement with a bullying partner

There may be many reasons couples find themselves in trouble relationship-wise. It might be that there has been a history of bad treatment or abuse. Family law in Alberta helps couples to end their relationships or marriages, but when one partner is an bully, breaking up can be even harder to do. Agreeing on a separation agreement when one person is displaying bullying behaviour might have its own set of challenges.

Bullies want what they want when they want it and don't take kindly to the negotiating process. So, the other individual needs to use logic rather than emotion when trying to come to a separation agreement. It is possible to thwart the triggers that a bully can raise, and one way is to be definitive about the intention of the agreement. 

Understand your legal options. Make informed decisions. Contact the family law lawyers of Henderson Heinrichs LLP

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