April 13, 2021

What Happens in an Uncontested Divorce in Alberta?

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law

When you’re facing divorce, it’s an emotional time in your life. But as we discussed in our earlier post, “How to Have an Amicable Divorce”, not all divorces have to be a battle. 

You might be fortunate enough to have a good enough relationship with your partner where you are both willing to agree on the terms of their divorce. Where this happens, your divorce may proceed as an uncontested divorce. 

 

How is an uncontested divorce defined? 

An uncontested divorce, or amicable divorce, is where neither party objects to the divorce. The parties will have come to an agreement in relation to any custody issues, access and support. 

The parties make the decisions about custody, access and support themselves, rather than asking the court to decide for them. 

It means there’s no need to appear before a judge.

One party will still need to be the applying party for the divorce, meaning an uncontested divorce is different to a joint divorce. In a joint divorce, the parties apply together for their divorce to be granted. 

Make sure you discuss your specific situation with a lawyer to get the correct legal advice. 

 

Who can obtain an uncontested divorce? 

The parties must show that their relationship has broken down. A common way of proving this is that parties have been separated for at least one year. If this is not the grounds for divorce, alternative grounds for divorce include adultery or mental or physical cruelty. 

In addition, one of the parties to the divorce must be living in Alberta for at least a year.

If there are children of the marriage, the parties must come to an agreement about the care and support of the children. 

 

What is a desk divorce? 

A desk divorce is another way of saying uncontested divorce. It refers to the fact that the divorce paperwork is handled at the desk of the judge, meaning a court appearance is not required. 

This means for the parties involved, the divorce process can be cheaper, more efficient and more amicable for everyone involved. 

 

How long does an uncontested divorce take? 

The uncontested divorce process takes around 3 months, in our experience. This means that from the date the paperwork is lodged, the court will take about 3 months to return the filed divorce judgment. 

 

What costs are involved?

The cost for an uncontested divorce will be much less expensive than a contested divorce. The Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta has a commencement fee for filing your statement of claim to start the divorce process, which is $260. Fees for legal representation will vary by law firm and sometimes the experience of your lawyer.

 

We always recommend getting legal advice to make sure that your interests, financial future and children get the best result from your divorce. Contact Richmond Tymchuk Family Law to help make your divorce painless and efficient. 

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