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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Alberta family law: The costs of a contentious divorce

Ironically, the more a couple agrees on the particulars of divorce, the smoother and less costly the process is likely to be. So, it's important to be on the same page about major issues to avoid ending up in front of a family court judge. Family law rules govern divorce in Alberta and the process can be costly, although how much it will actually cost varies from couple to couple.

One thing seems to be certain, though. A divorce usually ends up being much less costly if it's amicable. It's always costlier going to court since court fees can add up. When a couple can't agree on important aspects of a divorce, added expenses can multiply. In fact, it's likely to cost several thousands of dollars more when there's a court battle.

Plan carefully if you want to relocate with your children

One lesson you may have learned by this point in your life is that things change. Fortunes come and go. Children grow up. Relationships end. You may have firsthand knowledge of how change can affect your life and the lives of those around you. Not all change is bad, and when the opportunity for a new experience comes along, you may be the kind of person to seize the moment.

Perhaps this is the situation you are in now. Whether you have a business opportunity, you want to be closer to family or you simply want to make a move, you have a lot to consider, especially if you have children and your time with them is governed by a court-ordered parenting arrangement. Moving across town may not make much difference unless your impending move will affect the parenting schedule of you or your former partner.

Division of property: Your vehicle or mine?

Yours, mine and ours. That's the way things work in British Columbia when it comes to the division of property in a divorce situation. Assets can include all types of things from motorcycles, vehicles, property and furry family members. A lot of contention is enmeshed with vehicles that both individuals in the relationship might use. To whom do they really belong?

Those vehicles purchased during the marriage and which are considered to be marital property, will end up belonging to someone unless both parties agree to their sale and a split of the proceeds. Any vehicles that were owned by one individual prior to the marriage will remain with that individual. By the same token, if a vehicle was a gift, it isn't considered marital property.

Family law: Father reunited with child after abduction situation

A father was in tears after his 4-year-old son was returned to the country by his mother and the man's former wife. The woman was accused of abducting the boy after failing to return him to his father, who lives in Alberta. There are rules under the family law umbrella that speak to such situations regarding child custody matters, whether they happen here or abroad.

The woman fled the country with her son weeks ago. She was ordered by a judge to return the boy to his father in a designated location in Europe, but failed to show. A warrant was issued for her arrest and the only information the man received was in the form of emails from the woman assuring him that the boy was all right.

Family law: Helping autistic children through the divorce process

Divorce can be especially difficult on children. Under British Columbia family law, the best interests of children are always at the forefront. Children with special needs -- like those with autism -- may need more help to cope with their parents' divorce. Finding a mental health professional who has experience with children and autism may be helpful to the child, his or her parents and other family members.

Experts says how the parents behave around their children during the divorce process has a significant impact on the children, especially those who may have a harder time processing what is actually happening -- like children impacted by autism. Allowing the child to express his or her emotions and to ask questions that are answered with care and concern may help the situation. The needs of children with autism may be heightened during times of stress and anxiety, so it is important to be in touch with a child's needs during this time.

Children's issues: An unwilling father and child support

Men who have become unwilling fathers may still be on the hook for child support payments. Alberta has definitive laws when it comes to children's issues and one of those has to do with supporting children financially and emotionally. Even when a man doesn't want to become a father, he may have to support his child financially if it is in the best interests of the child.

Even when a man claims his partner told him she was using birth control or that he didn't want a child or that the woman told him she couldn't conceive, a family law judge may rule that he has to support the child he may claim was thrust upon him. One senior family court judge in the country has gone on record as saying that when parties have sex that they do so with the understanding that a pregnancy could occur, even if it is deemed unlikely. In other words, those who play may end up having to pay.

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

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