Family Law


There are two kinds of divorce: contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce, such as custody and access, child support, spousal support and property division. A contested divorce may be costly as parties often have to make multiple Court applications and sometimes end up going to trial.

At Resolve Legal Group, we will work with you to determine whether the Court system or an alternative dispute resolution is best for you. In a contested divorce, we work closely with you to understand the nature of the disputes and what your expectations are with respect to the outcomes. Our team of family lawyers offer multiple approaches to resolving your disputes, including everything from mediation to litigation.

In an uncontested divorce, the parties have reached an agreement on all issues and do not require the Court to make any decisions about the terms of the divorce; the only remaining matter is to draft the agreement and file the divorce with the Courts. The uncontested divorce process moves much faster through the system and creates less of a financial burden on the parties.

In the event that your divorce is uncontested, our lawyers can assist you with drafting your agreement or reviewing an existing agreement. By reviewing an existing agreement, our family lawyers will determine if it will be binding in Court and whether the agreement protects your interests. In addition, we will also advise you of any provisions that could place you at risk. In drafting these agreements, our divorce lawyers use language that clearly communicates the decisions you and your spouse have negotiated to ensure that your agreements are binding both now and in the future.

In your divorce, having qualified legal representation is essential to the protection of your interests. Even in the most amicable divorce, the assistance of a qualified and experienced lawyer can help to ensure a favourable outcome. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, our lawyers will conduct a thorough review of your situation and advise you of legal options specific to your case.

Did you know that independent legal advice is one of the requirements for an existing agreement to be legally binding? Make an appointment with one of our family law lawyers to review your existing agreement and receive the independent legal advice you need.

Division of Family Property

There is a presumption in Alberta that matrimonial property, i.e. any property accumulated during the marriage, will be equally divided between the parties upon divorcing or separating. In reality, the division may not be this simple, particularly where there are many assets and debts that have accumulated throughout the marriage. Determining what is and what isn’t “matrimonial property” can be difficult and legal advice is often required. We can advise you on the legislation that governs the division of matrimonial property and how it applies to your situation. There are time limits on making a matrimonial property claim under the governing legislation, so it is important you receive legal advice on your rights, liabilities, and time constraints as soon as possible.

Division “Common Law” Property

How is property divided between unmarried couples after separation?

1. Is your property divisible under the Family Property Act?

For spouses to qualify under the Family Property Act, you must either be married, or an “Adult Interdependent Partner”; a term defined by the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.

Under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, adult interdependent partners are people who have lived together in a relationship of some interdependence for three or more years or have made an adult interdependent partnership agreement. Whether you have any children together can also affect the length of time you must live together to qualify as Adult Interdependent Partners. As a result, adult interdependent partners are not always romantic partners, and may also include parents and adult children living together in interdependent relationships who have a written interdependent partnership agreement.

2. Determine all property and whether it is divisible

Property is either divisible under the Act, or exempt from division. Exempt property may include items of property acquired before the marriage, by a gift from a third party, by inheritance, as damages from a tort, or acquired from insurance proceeds that are not property insurance and which compensate a loss to just one spouse. Any increase in value of exempt property earned during the marriage may still be shared.

3. Consider whether you require confirmation of the value of property or an appraisal on property.

4. Discuss and agree upon property division or make a court application for a justice to determine how your property should be divided.

In general, adult interdependent partners will have a two-year period in which to bring an action for the division of family property under the Family Property Act. The two-year period begins when the couple have stopped being adult interdependent partners, which happens when one of the following occurs: (1) the parties sign a written agreement to end their relationship; (2) the parties have not lived together for one year and one or both of them wish to end their relationship; (3) one or both of the parties gets married; (4) one or both parties becomes an adult interdependent partner with a third party; or (5) a Court makes a declaration under the Family Law Act that the parties are unable to reconcile and resume their relationship. If you miss this two-year period, you may not be able to start a court claim for the division of property.

If you need any guidance in navigating the new legislation around the division of family property in Alberta, please contact RESOLVE LEGAL GROUP’s client support coordinator at 403-229-2365 to set up an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers.

Parenting Time and Decision-Making Responsibility

When there are children of a marriage or relationship, there can be many decisions to be made upon separating, such as where the child(ren) will live, who will make the major decisions for the child(ren), and what parenting arrangements need to be made to accommodate the child(ren)’s needs, the parents’ needs, and keep the new family unit working.

We can answer all of your questions on the different types of custody arrangements and we can work with you to develop a parenting arrangement that will accommodate your family’s needs. We can help you understand the law as it relates to parenting time and decision-making responsibility your child(ren), whether you are married or not.

We will also let you know what resources exist to help parents make these difficult decisions regarding parenting time and decision-making responsibility so as to minimize conflict between the parties.

Cohabitation, Prenuptial, Post Nuptial Agreements

In Alberta, parties can enter into a contract or agreement ideally (but not always) before they start living together or before they get married to settle such matters as property division, support and other rights in the event the partnership is no longer able to continue. To ensure that these agreements are fair, legal, and binding, you must see a lawyer for independent legal advice.


After separation or divorce, it is common for one party to wish to relocate for personal or work-related reasons. Where there are children, the issue of relocation, that is to say, the ability of parents to move from one home to another, becomes a concern in almost every situation. Both parents must consent to the relocation of a child in a joint custodial situation. If parents cannot agree on the relocation of the child with the primary caregiver, legal assistance will be needed. We have experience in representing provincial, federal, and international relocation arguments and can assist you in negotiation, mediation or court ordered resolution on the issue of relocation.

Child Support

Child support is not optional. All parents have an obligation to support their children while they are under the age of majority (and sometimes longer) when they separate from the other parent, whether they were married or not. Support is determined in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which take into account income of the paying parent, where that parent resides, and the number of children.

Parents can also be obligated to pay additional support for the children, which may include costs for daycare and other extraordinary expenses; these are referred to as section 7 expenses. Parents may also be obligated to pay support for children who are over the age of majority if they are continuing their education or if they are unable to support themselves by reason of illness or disability.

We can help you understand the rules and tables that make up the Guideline to ensure you are paying or receiving the appropriate amount of support for your children. We can also advise you on what to do if you are not receiving the appropriate amount of support.

We also provide direction on enforcing child support court orders and assistance with how to ensure that child support is recalculated and adjusted when there are changes to the income of the parties.

Spousal or Partner Support

There is no automatic entitlement to spousal/partner support when you get a divorce or separate from a partner. An agreement can either be made between the parties or a Court can decide if a party is entitled to support, and if so, how much support they are entitled to and for how long. There are many factors that must be addressed to establish entitlement to support and there are many objectives that affect the amount and duration of support. We can help you understand this very difficult area of law that has been established through legislative recognition and case law.

There are also Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines which help determine the amount and duration of spousal support. These guidelines act as a reference point to assist individuals in determining a range of appropriate support, but they are not mandatory calculations under the law. We strongly recommend that you receive legal advice before you agree to pay or receive any amount of support.


If you are seeking to officially adopt a child who has been in your care, a step-child, or a child for whom you have acted in loco parentis (in the place of a parent), we can assist you in understanding the Court process, the information required, and the timelines for processing an Application for Adoption.

Grandparents’ Rights

During the breakdown of a relationship or marriage, a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild(ren) may be affected. Are you a grandparent who does not have access to your grandchild(ren)? Are you worried about their safety or well-being?

No matter what concerns a grandparent may have, we are able to provide advice on your rights as a grandparent under the Alberta legislative framework.

International and Extra Jurisdictional Matters

There are many layers to a divorce or to a couple separating and sometimes there are complex issues that may arise when one of the parties decides to leaves the country, when one of the parties has already relocated outside of the country, or when one of the parties decides to remove children or assets from the country. This is particularly true when children are involved, as over the years there have been multiple high-profile cases of “child abduction by parent” in the media. Often times child abduction falls under international law known as the Hague Convention. For this convention to apply though, the country where the parent took the child to must be signatory to the Hague Convention. Not all countries are signatories to the convention. If a child is removed to a country that is not signatory to the Hague Convention, it becomes much more difficult to enforce the removal of a child back Canada. However, we have successfully negotiated settlements for families who have seen a parent relocate to a country that is not signatory to the Hague Convention.

The jurisdiction where a matter is decided can have an immense impact on the outcome – as can whether or not a party agrees to participate in a proceeding in a foreign country. Jurisdiction refers to the legal scope of the government's powers. Canada consists of thirteen provincial and territorial jurisdictions, and one federal jurisdiction. The United States consists of fifty state jurisdictions, various territorial jurisdictions, and one federal jurisdiction. Determining which jurisdiction a matter should be decided in is not always clear. For example if a child was born in Flordia, lived there for two weeks, then the family moved to New York and lived there for five years before moving to Alberta and living there for ten years prior to one of the parents fleeing back to Nevada with the child, there is a real question where the court should hear the matter involving the return of the child. There are different thresholds that must be met before any court can assume jurisdiction.

We know the process can be extremely stressful and can set off many emotions for both parties involved. Our team at Resolve Legal Group will be there right by your side.

Our lawyers have clients in neighbouring provinces and our firm works closely with multiple firms in those provinces, which in turn enables Resolve Legal Group to coordinate services across jurisdictions to ease our client’s fears and provide them with the best representation possible.

24/7 On-call Support

Resolve Legal Group clients have access to our on-call lawyer service after hours “… because life doesn’t just happen between 9:00 and 5:00.”