What Services Do Calgary Divorce Lawyers Offer?
If you’re living in Calgary and are unsure of your rights during a divorce, hiring a Calgary divorce lawyer is the best way to grant yourself some peace of mind. Divorce lawyers in Calgary are highly knowledgeable in matters regarding spousal support, asset and debt division and child custody. They can help you navigate through any agreements and ensure that you are educated on your entitlements during what is likely to be a difficult time.
- File divorce papers
- Advise on child custody matters
- Give counsel on spousal support
- Assist in asset and debt division
A good divorce lawyer in Calgary will be honest and tell you what you will be realistically entitled to in a divorce. They should advise you as to the strategies that will be taken in your matter and provide you with an approximate timeline to see the strategies through.
Your divorce lawyer will also negotiate with the opposing counsel on your behalf, this is incredibly beneficial for those going through a very emotional divorce, having someone else handle communication when you are feeling overwhelmed is usually the best course of action.
While some choose to complete the required paperwork for their divorce on their own, this can lead to errors and costly refiling fees. Hiring someone who is familiar with the legal system and necessary paperwork can help you avoid any mistakes and ensure that nothing is delayed or overlooked. It also takes a considerable amount of time traveling to and from the courthouse as well as waiting in lines to file – this is time you may have to take off of work as the courthouse operates during regular business hours.
Hiring a divorce lawyers can also assist you in retrieving financial information if your spouse is being uncooperative. Having a lawyer request information on your spouse’s assets like their investments and pensions can be more compelling than if you take it upon yourself.
Your divorce lawyer can also provide you with a list of experts such as psychologists or social workers if needed for child custody matters or find you a trustworthy appraiser for businesses and real estate. Many lawyers will also interview and hire these experts on your behalf.
When Should You Hire A Divorce Lawyer?
If you are trying to navigate through a complicated divorce on your own you could be risking your parental rights and creating uncertainty in your finances. If you’re experiencing any of the following, hiring a divorce lawyer may be your best option:
- During a contested divorce
- Your spouse has hired a lawyer
- Child custody matters
- Disputes regarding spousal support
- You have significant assets and/or debts
Using Calgary Divorce Mediators Vs. Calgary Divorce Lawyers?
Divorce mediation is typically less expensive, instead of paying for a lawyer for each spouse a couple is only paying for the mediator, the cost of which is usually split between the couple. Meetings, related communications and negotiating back and forth between lawyers adds up fast, if your matter goes to court it will also incur additional expenses.
Divorce mediation also allows you to schedule your meetings around your personal schedule rather than that of the court or both of your lawyers. On average, a contested divorce can take up to a year to resolve, divorce mediation may only take a few months.
Hiring a divorce mediator allows the couple to retain control rather than putting the decision-making in the hands of a judge. The mediator will help both spouses communicate and come to an amicable agreement.
Mediation can be beneficial to children, it requires that both parties be open and willing to negotiate and teaches valuable techniques for communication down the road. This will make it easier to co-parent later on.
What Can a Divorce Mediator in Calgary Do For You?
Sometimes, working with a mediator will be the best option for you and your spouse to get what you both need with as little conflict as is possible. However, mediation only works if both parties are willing to work with one another. Mediation may be a successful option for you and your spouse if you can find a way to agree upon the following:
Your Divorce is Uncontested
Not all divorces are contested, in some instances both parties agree that they would like to end the marriage and file for a divorce. When this happens, it’s typically easier to negotiate with your spouse and work with one another on any issues regarding the divorce. A mediator can be a great tool to help with communication and to keep the process running smoothly during these negotiations.
Both Spouses Are Honest Regarding Finances
Negotiations regarding finances are generally the most complicated. Each spouse needs to be forthcoming and provide the other, along with the mediator, all documentation related to assets, debts, bank accounts, investments and pensions. Sometimes, one spouse will have taken on the bulk of the financial responsibilities during a marriage and will be more familiar with assets and liabilities – ensure you do some research and have all relevant financial information at hand before you meet with your mediator or agree to any settlements.
Both Spouses Agree on Child Custody and Visitation
Parents know what is best for their children and can generally set aside their issues for their children’s sake but there can still be complications, especially during such trying times as a separation or divorce. If both you and your spouse are open to negotiation, a divorce mediator can help you work through issues such as child support payments and visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody or one spouse is being accused of being “an unfit parent”, it is advisable to look into Calgary divorce lawyers as a court intervention will be required.
In order to file for a divorce you and your spouse must be separated for a period of one year. You may begin divorce actions during this time but a Court Order for divorce will not be granted until the year has passed.
You can self-file for a divorce if the divorce is uncontested, you have lived separately from your spouse for one year and your spouse has not obtained a lawyer. However, even if a divorce is granted and the marriage is ended, arrangements still need to be made for your children and finances.
In Alberta, divorce lawyers typically charge by the hour. The range for this is generally between $200 and $600 per hour. It is important you understand what you will be charged for and how you will be billed and that you discuss this with your lawyer.
In an uncontested divorce, where you and your spouse can amicably agree on all decisions, a divorce may be completed in as little as three to five months. A contested divorce may take several years to complete.
Some lawyers will offer a free consultation for new clients. Ensure you discuss all matters related to billing before you meet with a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer you may be eligible for Legal Aid.