1. Parenting decisions: Joint custody (also known as Joint Parenting) is the standard parenting arrangement. It means decisions related to their children will be made by both parents. It has nothing to do with how much time children spend with each parent.
2. Parenting time: Shared custody (also known as Shared Parenting) means children spend relatively equal periods of time with each parent. Primary residence means a child only lives with one parent.
3. Guardianship: Married couples are guardians. Unmarried mothers are also guardians and, in many cases, unmarried fathers can be guardians. People other than parents can obtain guardianship. Issues can arise if competing guardians have disagreements on issues such as decision making power and parenting time.
4. Child support: The obligation to provide financial support for a child arises when parents separate. The amount of support is set in Child Support guidelines.
5. Cohabitation Agreement: A signed document that sets out the rights and obligations of two people who live together, including what happens if they decide to separate.
6. Collaborative Family Law: A no-court process that helps couples reach a settlement with the help of lawyers and other collaborative divorce professionals.
7. Courts: Family Law matters can be dealt with in either the Court of Queen’s Bench or the Provincial Court. You should get legal advice on which court to choose.
8. Family violence: A victim of domestic violence has rights that may be protected by the Protection Against Family Violence Act and services available through our Courts, including Court ordered protection.
9. Governing Laws: There are three primary pieces of legislation that govern what happens when people separate in Alberta:
- The Divorce Act: divorce, child custody, child access and spousal support
- The Family Law Act: guardianship, parenting, contact, child support, spousal support, applicable to both married and unmarried couples
- Matrimonial Property Act: property division
10. Spousal and partner support: The amount an individual is entitled to receive or obliged to pay a former partner. Consult a Family Law lawyer to learn more.