What Is Family Law?
Family Law, also referred to as Matrimonial Law, deals with the rights and obligations that arise out of various common law, spousal, adult-interdependent, same sex and parental relationships.
We can assist individuals in the following specific areas covered by Family Law:
- Cohabitation Agreements
A Cohabitation Agreement is meant for those individuals who are in a common-law relationship and want to set out spousal support and how their assets and property will be divided in the event their common-law relationship were to come to an end.
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a type of contract under family law that allows a couple that is about to marry to enter into an Agreement primarily about how assets and income are to be divided in the event their relationship were to come to an end.
Marriage is a formal union and legal contract between two people that unites their lives legally.
- Post-Nuptial Agreements (also referred to as Marriage Contracts)
Much like a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, a Post-Nuptial Agreement may be entered into by both parties after marriage, however both of these documents essentially perform the same task. The need for a Post-Nuptial Agreement generally occurs when certain circumstances dramatically change for the couple after marriage.
- Separation Agreements
A Separation Agreement is a written contract between two spouses who have agreed to live apart and are in agreement with certain terms and conditions such as custody and access of children, support issues, and the division of property, assets and debts. Separation Agreements are usually drawn-up by lawyers, and each party will obtain independent legal advice before signing to make sure the terms of the contract are what the spouses have agreed upon.
Uncontested - Where the spouses agree on all issues, including the grounds for divorce, custodial arrangements, support and alimony, and property division.
Contested - Where at least one of the issues is in dispute.
- Child Support
Ongoing Child Support - Court-ordered payments, typically made by a non-custodial divorced parent, to support one's minor child or children.
Retroactive Child Support - Courts can order retroactive child support for a period during which the support payor should have been paying support but was not, or was paying less support than what the recipient was entitled to under the Child Support Guidelines.
- Custody of and Access to Children
Custody - Child custody and legal guardianship are legal terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the child to make decisions and the parent's duty to care for the child.
Access - A shared parenting arrangement is when the child's time is shared equally between his/her parents
- Spousal Support
Ongoing Spousal Support - Spousal Support is money paid by one spouse to the other after they separate or divorce. It may also be referred to as alimony or maintenance. Many factors affect whether a married or common-law spouse is entitled to spousal support and how much support they should receive.
Retroactive Spousal Support - Courts can order retroactive spousal support for a period prior to filing a application to the Court.
- Property Distribution
In Alberta, we follow the Matrimonial Property Act (“MPA”) which classifies property and sets out rules for its distribution. The purpose of the MPA is to make sure that property is divided in a fair way between spouses when they separate.
Paternity legally declares who the father of a child is.
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of a child from the child's biological or legal parent(s) and in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent(s).