By Brittany Koenig, Paralegal Navigator, Calgary
If you are filing an application for child support at the Court of Queen’s Bench in either Edmonton or Calgary, you are required to book a meeting with a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) in Calgary or a Child Support Resolution (CSR) Officer in Edmonton, but what does that involve? And what do you need to do to prepare for your meeting?
Going to Court for family law related matters should be your last resort. Of course, there are cases where Court is necessary, but the Court wants to see that genuine effort has been made to resolve matters before asking the Court to weigh in. There is also a growing appreciation for alternate dispute resolution (ADR) processes, and the Court requires that parties attempt an ADR process before a trial can be booked. With that in mind, the Court and justice services developed various alternate dispute resolution programs to support parties through their legal matters in cost effective way which includes the DRO and CSR Officer programs.
What Happens During my Meeting with a DRO/CSR Officer?
DRO/CSR officers are family law lawyers who are experienced in supporting parties through child support related conflicts. Meetings are booked for 1-hour time slots and the officer is equipped to help parties calculate child support amounts.
During the meeting, it is common for the parties to be provided with an opportunity to share their story and for there to be a review of their respective financial disclosure documents. The financial disclosure documents are used to determine each parties’ guideline income to calculate the amount of child support due under the Federal Child Support Guidelines. There will be some discussion around the current parenting arrangements, as parenting time effects who is responsible to pay child support and the amount. Section 7 expenses may come up for families where there are extraordinary expenses associated with the child(ren). A list of what classifies as a Section 7 expenses can be found in the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Commonly, Section 7 expenses are shared proportionate to each parents’ income and the DRO/CSR officer can confirm what each parent should contribute to those expenses.
At the end of the meeting with the DRO/CSR officer, if you and the other parent reach an agreement, then the officer can draft a consent order and submit it directly to a judge/justice to review and sign off on it without the need to ever go to Court.
How do I Prepare for a DRO/CSR Meeting?
Both you and the other party should be aware of any meeting booked with a DRO/CSR officer and should come prepared with your relevant financial disclosure documents. A comprehensive list of the documents that you should prepare for your meeting can be found at items #1 through #9 of the standard Notice to Disclose/Application. Both parties’ financial disclosure is considered to determine their guideline incomes and any extraordinary expenses associated with the child(ren).
Scheduling a DRO/CSR Meeting
When you are ready to proceed you can contact the Calgary or Edmonton Courts Centre to book an appointment with a DRO/CSR officer. The office is open between 8:15 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
Calgary Courts Centre – DRO Program /Suite 706-S, Calgary Courts Centre
601 5 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7
W: Dispute Resolution Officer Program | Alberta.ca
Edmonton Courts Centre – CSR Program
Suite 8124, John E. Brownlee Bldg
10365 97 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3W7
W: Child Support Resolution Program | Alberta.ca
Coach My Case has a team of experienced legal coaches and paralegal navigators who are experienced in working with families in child support related conflicts. If you have questions or need more information about the DRO/CSR officer program, call us today for a free consultation.