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Where to start if you are seeking a Divorce?

When someone is considering divorce, it can be a stressful and scary time in their lives.  Often, people do not know where to start and when to speak to a lawyer.  Once you have decided that you are ready to proceed with seeking a divorce, it is best to gather information, speak to a lawyer and then start the divorce process.

Gather information in anticipation of seeking a divorce

It is important to have as much information as possible when you are considering starting the divorce process as your lawyer will be able to give you more informed advice.  It is important to gather information about what you and your spouse own as well as what you owe.  You will also want to gather as much information as you can about exemptions, which in most cases would be assets that were brought into the relationship or assets that were inherited during the relationship, as well as what happened to those assets and where they are now.  Finally, you will want to gather information about your income and your spouse’s income.  All of this information will be disclosed during the process but ensuring that you have access to as much of this information as possible when you seek legal advice will greatly assist you.  Sometimes spouses attempt to conceal assets so having statements for as many accounts as possible will protect you from that as well.

Speak to a Family Lawyer in anticipation of seeking a divorce

A Family Lawyer will be able to give you general information on the divorce process, the law in Alberta and an idea of what your entitlement would be in the event of a divorce.  By having more information available, the lawyer will be able to give you better advice about your specific situation.  The lawyer can advise you on what further information you will want to gather, which options are available to move towards a divorce and, in some cases, some preliminary steps that should be taken to better protect yourself.  By speaking to a lawyer in advance, you are able to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision on considering whether you want to proceed with a divorce.

Start the divorce process

When you speak to the lawyer, there should also be a discussion about how to initiate the divorce.  In some situations, it is better for you to speak to your spouse about your intention to seek a divorce and a desire to do the process amicably to save both sides money and stress.  In other situations, it may be best to have the lawyer contact your spouse directly or even serve your spouse with divorce commencement documents.  After speaking to the lawyer, you should have discussed the best way to proceed at this point if you do intend to commence the divorce process.  In most situations, an amicable divorce is the best result for everybody.  An amicable divorce is not necessarily a divorce that both sides want but it is a divorce both sides can agree with.  When that is not possible, your lawyer will be able to advise you on how to proceed forward with seeking a divorce.

If you are considering seeking a divorce in Alberta, it is always recommended you seek legal advice. 

Written by Michael Ross

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