Filing your Calgary Family Law Application
When going through a separation or divorce, mediation or some other dispute resolution process is advisable. Family law court? It should be your last resort. But if you reach that point, an application is required to have a judge resolve the issue for you.
When it comes to Calgary family law, here’s the steps to apply:
Step 1: Choose the right forms
Depending on your situation, a party making an application must determine whether to apply under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.
An application is made under the Divorce Act for:
- Married couples
- Exclusive possession of a Home
- Custody of a children
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Contact with children
- Other matters found in the Divorce Act
The Family Law Act is for:
- Married or unmarried couples
- Parenting of children
- Guardianship of children
- Child support
- Contact with children
- Other matters found in the Family Law Act
While an application can be made to either the Provincial Court or the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, issues regarding family property must be made to the latter. Moreover, if previous pleadings have been filed in your family law case then you must continue in the same level of Court. Married couples generally choose to apply under the Divorce Act, in Queen’s Bench, as that level of Court has jurisdiction to finalize a divorce.
If applying under the Family Law Act, a form called “Claim – Family Law Act” is needed; so, too, a Statement for each Order applied for. Alternatively, an application under the Divorce Act, requires a “Family Application” and a supporting Affidavit. The Application forms – they outline what you are asking for and why; the Affidavits and Statements – they outline your evidence in support of the application including any documents that you wish to include as exhibits. It’s important to note that Statements and Affidavits need to be sworn with a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public.
To access all of the required Calgary family law and divorce forms, visit the Alberta Courts website: www.albertacourts.ca. And to get the best possible advice prior to commencing an application, have a chat with the Legal Navigator at Coach My Case.
Step 2: File your materials with a court clerk
After the preparation of your family law or divorce Application, Affidavit and/or Statements, attendance at the Court is required to have them filed. What will you need to bring?
- The original Application and Affidavit/Statements;
- A copy for you;
- A copy for each respondent; and
- An extra copy for the Judge or Justice
Next is the selection of a court date with the help of the family law court clerk and, if making a claim under the Family Law Act, completion of the “Notice to Respondent” on the Claim. The clerk stamps each copy and keeps the originals.
Step 3: Serve your documents
The Respondent to your family law claim must be provided notice of the application. Notice is given by serving directly to the Respondent a copy of the filed materials, including the Application, and Affidavit or Statements. A friend or a process server for hire can be used to serve the Respondent.
Don’t know where the Respondent is? Try to find them. If you are unable to personally serve the Respondent, ask the Court for permission for a Substitutional Service Order. This will require another Court visit to speak to the Justice.
Once the Respondent is served, an “Affidavit of Service” is needed. The Affidavit of Service explains who delivered the documents; states the date documents were delivered; and the address of where the Respondent was served. It must be filed with the Court clerks prior to your court date, and it is highly recommended you bring a copy with you to divorce court.
Step 4: Attend Court
Having filled out, filed, and served the family law Application documents on the other party, the only step remaining is to attend Court on the day you have chosen. Remember: bring copies of all your documents, including your Affidavit of Service.
Navigating Calgary family law and the divorce courts is a tricky business, particularly if you are representing yourself, but Coach My Case can stop it feeling like a stampede. Call our Legal Navigator today for a free initial consultation.