Being involved in a separation can be emotional, upsetting, uncertain, and stressful. If there are children involved these feelings can be compounded even further. When a separation involves children the most important issue that the separating spouses need to address is to find a way to ensure that the children are not harmed by the process. In Canada it has been reiterated that the “best interests of the child” are paramount when parties separate and/or divorce. At Sawatzky Family Law we ensure that these interests are at the forefront of the negotiations and separation process. For couples without children the issues of dividing finances and debts as well as reaching a fair division of assets in a mutually acceptable manner is essential.
Mediation and arbitration are alternative dispute resolution processes. Mediation is a process where an impartial third party assists the parties in reaching an agreement. An Arbitrator assumes the roles of both a mediator and a judge where they are an impartial third party who imposes a binding decision if the parties are unable to reach an agreement.
Very few family law disputes end up being resolved at a trial in the court system. Typically most family law issues are resolved by an agreement, either through negotiation, collaboratively, or mediation. It is important that the separating parties reach an agreement that is comprehensive, legally binding, and mutually acceptable. Sawatzky Family Law has the expertise in drafting agreements that are thorough, clear, and reflect the interest of the parties.
At Sawatzky Family Law we believe that parenting children during and after a separation is the most important task. Following a separation it is crucial that the proper parenting takes place as the children will need to adjust to their new settings. Separating parents not only are preparing for their own future but more importantly need to ensure that they do the same for their children. Through our compassionate approach towards the law we always ensure that the children come first on every file that they are involved in.
Spousal or Adult Interdependent Partner Support is the payment from one spouse to another following the breakdown of the relationship. It is common for payments of support to made on a month to month basis, however, they can be arranged to follow other intervals or be advanced as a lump sum. In Alberta spousal support is the term used for support being paid between married couples pursuant to the Divorce Act (Canada). Adult Interdependent Partner Support is the term used for support between common law couples, and is covered by the Alberta Family Law Act as well as the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.
Child support orders can be made pursuant to the Divorce Act (Canada) and/or the Family Law Act (Alberta) and is determined by whether the parties are married or unmarried. It is important to note that child support in Canada is considered to be the right of the child rather than the parents. In Canada the parents and/or guardians of the child cannot contract out of child support. The courts in Canada maintain authority and jurisdiction over issues surrounding child support.
In Alberta the law regarding division of property for married and common law spouses is different. It is important to discuss with a lawyer what laws, statutes, and legislation apply to your relationship and property.
Collaborative law is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of contested litigation.