…your family law matters deserve a personal approach and reasonable solutions.
Whether it is a divorce, parenting agreement, or common law relationship, your family law matters deserve a personal approach and reasonable solutions.
Our lawyers are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of family law with compassion and trustworthy legal advice. We can help you with the following matters:
- Contested and uncontested divorce
- Mobility applications
- Separation, support and property agreements
- Prenuptial and cohabitation agreements
- Common law relationship matters
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Child custody and parental arrangements
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
We understand that every divorce, whether contested or not, comes with difficult emotions and disappointment. The last thing you need is frustrating paperwork, confusing negotiations, and complicated deadlines.
At CKM, our goal is to guide you through the process, making it as easy as possible, so that you can concentrate on moving forward.
During a typical divorce, couples must make decisions about the following:
- Financial support for the dependent spouse
- Division of property
- Financial support for children of the marriage
- Custody and visitation rights, if children are involved
If you and your spouse cannot agree on any of these matters, then the divorce is considered contested, and a judge must intervene.
The best way to prevent a contested divorce is to seek legal advice as soon as the divorce proceeding begins. We can help you communicate effectively with your spouse, consider creative solutions, and understand the rights of everyone involved.
If you and your spouse agree on how to separate the property, handle the finances, and care for the children, then the divorce is uncontested.
This is often considered a ‘desk divorce’ because you can submit the proper paperwork and the judge can review and approve it his or her desk, rather than in a courtroom.
Otherwise peaceful divorces can easily become heated when unexpected issues arise, though. So, even if you and your spouse agree on how to go your separate ways, it’s still important to have a lawyer review your written agreement to ensure that it’s valid, fair, and covers everything.
When parents are separated or divorced, and one parent wishes to move with the child to another city or country, a mobility application may be required.
The purpose of a mobility application is to determine if the move would be in the best interests of the child. A judge will consider what is known as ‘status quo’, which means there will be a review of the current norms and circumstances of the child, their relationship to each parent, and how much the move would impact their life. Each parent will have an opportunity to plead their case and the judge will make a final decision.
No matter what side of this process you are on, legal advice and representation is critical, so you can understand your rights and options. At CKM, our priority is what’s best for all involved. We can help you prepare the application, gather evidence, and make a case to the judge.
Before a legal separation or divorce is finalized, many decisions must be made. Either through negotiation, or a judges’ orders, parties must come to agreement on issues like child custody, property division, and financial support.
For these verbal agreements to be enforceable in the future, it is essential that they be put in writing. Legal agreements are only binding if they meet certain criteria under the law. Although it is easy to find templates for these types of agreements online, it does not mean they will stand up in court if the agreement is contested in the future, or another issue arises.
Your separation agreements should be drafted and reviewed by an experienced attorney who understands the many nuances of family law, including related matters like immigration and employment status.
A prenuptial agreement is a binding legal contract, signed by a couple in anticipation of marriage. A sound prenuptial agreement will set forth:
- How assets/property will be owned during the marriage
- How assets/property will be divided should the couple separate or divorce
- How assets/property will pass if one of the spouses passes away (in conjunction with a will)
- How liabilities will be divided and handled
Because prenuptial agreements are entirely based on future events that may or may not take place, they can be difficult to draft. There are many nuances and factors to consider.
The lawyers at CKM will carefully draft your prenuptial agreement so it accurately reflects your wishes, desires, and intentions.
A cohabitation agreement is a binding legal contract between a couple who lives together but does not intend to marry.
Much like a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement can define how jointly owned and separately held property are to be divided, how liabilities will be handled, and how assets will pass in case of death or separation.
Arguably, a cohabitation agreement is even more important than a prenuptial because the law is very gray when it comes to unmarried couples. If you and your significant other were to separate after a long period of cohabitation, a judge would have a tremendous amount of discretion in deciding how to handle your disputes. In other words, there is little precedent, and you would not know what to expect.
A well-written cohabitation agreement, prepared and reviewed by the lawyers at CKM Law, can give you and your significant other assurance that future disputes will be mitigated, and unexpected separations will go smoothly.
Common Law Separations
In Calgary, couples who have lived together for at least three years, without a legal marriage, are considered a common law couple, or adult interdependent partners. Upon the breakdown or separation of a common law marriage, the rights of each partner are often in dispute.
Issues such as property ownership, asset distribution, and child support must be settled. Because the law does not provide clear and automatic solutions for common law couples, it is critical that you seek legal advice to understand your rights, options, and obligations.
The lawyers at CKM Law can help you initiate the negotiation process, discuss fair and practical solutions, pursue a claim, if necessary, and represent you in court, if it comes to that.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
By nature, family law matters are personal and emotional. An already frustrating situation may be further complicated by feelings of hostility, disappointment, and fear. This often results in a win/lose mindset, where both parties lose sight of the big picture and seek revenge instead of a fair solution.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a health alternative to the court system, where parties are encouraged to peacefully work through their disputes to find a mutually acceptable solution.
Mediation is where the disputing couple meets with a neutral third-party. This can happen with or without your lawyer present, but we often encourage our presence to help facilitate. The mediators’ job is to guide productive conversations and act as referee when arguments break out. The goal is for you and your spouse to hear each other’s concerns and find creative solutions to meet everyone’s goals.
Arbitration is like court, but much less formal. An arbitrator, usually a former judge, will hear you and your spouses concerns and arguments and make a decision for you. The decision is binding, but it is often a faster and more cost-effective process than the court system, and the decisions are more focused on mutual resolutions, than winning and losing. Arbitration can also be used after mediation, to decide any last unresolved issues.
Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative family law consists of you and your spouse meeting with your respective lawyers to discuss and negotiate your dispute. Other professionals, such as parenting experts or financial advisor, are often invited to help suggest solutions and clarify options.
Our lawyers can assist you through the ADR process, helping you find peaceful solutions to your family disputes without the costly and lengthy process of going to court.
Child Custody and Parental Agreements
During a divorce or separation, making decisions about the children involved are often some of the most difficult. Married and common law couples, alike, must make decisions regarding:
- Who the children will live with
- Who the children can visit and see
- Who will provide financial support for the children
- Who can make ongoing decisions regarding the children’s education, health, and other important matters
Making these decisions during a painful separation generally requires the assistance of a compassionate lawyer who will help facilitate respectful conversations and productive negotiations where the focus is on the best interests of the children.
The lawyers at CKM Law can help you negotiate with your spouse and draft written agreements that protect the children, first and foremost, and your rights and interests, as well. If negotiations fail, we will represent you and your child in court. Our goal is always to prepare child custody and parental agreements that protect the child and create a harmonious parental relationship moving forward.