Finding a family law lawyer, or divorce lawyer, who you work well with and trust can be a difficult process, especially in an emotional time like when you are considering or have decided on a divorce.
Finding the Right Divorce Lawyer
Most family law clients get referred to their lawyer by word of mouth through their friends, colleagues, and families. Finding a Calgary divorce lawyer in this way gives you some reassurance that they’re a reputable service provider though you’ll still want to meet with them to make sure they’ll be a good fit for you.
Once you have gotten through that initial stage of finding a divorce lawyer, there are some things you can do to prepare for your first meeting.
Preparing for Your First Meeting with a Divorce Lawyer
First, if you have children under the age of 16 years old, you should first complete a course called Parenting After Separation. This is a free seminar offered by Alberta Justice. Completion of this course is a mandatory prerequisite for any parent of a child under the age of 16, making an application in the Court of Queen’s Bench related to custody or parenting. The course is available in two formats – an online format and a 6 hour in-person session.
You can register for the Parent After Separation program in Calgary online or by calling 403-297-6981.
You will receive a certificate of completion which your lawyer will need to file in the Court of Queen’s Bench – so make sure you keep this document safe.
When visiting your family law lawyer, you will need to bring your government-issued marriage certificate with you.
The next thing you can do is gather the necessary documents to disclose your income, assets, and liabilities. An analysis of your incomes, assets, and debts will be required in order for your lawyer to advise you on matters of child support, spousal support, and division of matrimonial property.
Both spouses are required to make full disclosure to each other of their income, assets and debts in order to successfully negotiate a settlement.
The basic documents that each party needs to disclose are listed on a Court Document called a Notice to Disclose. This document can be found online at the Alberta Courts Website.
Download this form. You will see a number of documents ordered 1 though 16. Gather as many of those documents that are relevant to you, and bring them in with you to your first appointment with your family law lawyer so they will have a complete picture of what you are working with.
Importantly, at this first meeting you and your lawyer will get to know each other, your lawyer will familiarize themselves with your circumstances, and you can start to work together creating a plan for moving your matter forward.
The process of going through a divorce is difficult – but your family law lawyer is there to help you through each stage of the process, and there are many.
I wish you all good luck in your separation and settlement processes. And please do not hesitate, to contact any of the family lawyers at Richmond Tymchuk Family Law LLP if you require assistance at any stage of your journey.