Uncontested Divorce Alberta

Uncontested divorce Alberta - Heidi Dinning Certified Divorce Coaching

Uncontested Divorce Alberta – What Is It and How Long Does It Take?

No matter the details of the situation, a divorce is an emotional event in your life, with multiple layers to every situation, and sifting through all of the layers can be daunting.

However, in Alberta, just because you are getting a divorce it does not necessarily mean that you have to be in serious conflict for the whole experience, or even at all. With an uncontested divorce, the divorce process is quicker and typically more amicable by definition. 

To learn more about uncontested divorces in Alberta– both what they are, and how long they take–, take a look below. 

Also Read – What is the Divorce Process in Alberta

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce also referred to as an amicable or collaborative divorce, is when both parties agree to the separation and divorce and the terms associated with it, like custody, access, and child support.  This means they do not need to settle the terms of the divorce using alternative dispute resolution processes or end up in court. 

During this type of divorce, the spouses typically write their separation agreement together and then sign off for filing together as well. This can be a lot less stressful for you and your spouse avoiding all the unnecessary legal divorce proceedings and associated costs.

As can be assumed, this occurs when the spouses can still communicate effectively.  This means they can work out the terms without interference from a judge or legal team. 

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

Depending on certain individual factors, the time it takes for an uncontested divorce to be complete will vary. However, since the spouses are not in dispute over factors of the divorce and have come to an agreement, it will be unnecessary for the divorce proceeding to take longer than necessary. They will also be able to avoid bringing the divorce to trial since they are in agreement on the issues that would need to be resolved in court. 

Not only does this save money, but it will save time, too! 

Generally, an uncontested divorce in Alberta takes about 3 months to be wrapped up. This encompasses the time that it takes from the date that the divorce paperwork is lodged to the date that the filed divorce judgment is returned. Of course, certain variables can affect this, but 3 months is the most accurate estimate.

This does not include the time that required separation takes.  Typically a couple cannot file for divorce until they have been separated for at least one year. 

How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?

An uncontested divorce can be significantly cheaper than other types of divorce, so if you have an amicable relationship where you can communicate with your spouse, an uncontested divorce is certainly worth striving for if at all possible. It is estimated that an uncontested divorce process in Alberta will be in the range of $1,740, while a contested divorce averages around $23,700! It is important to note that different factors will still affect the cost of your divorce proceedings. Fees for legal representation and assistance vary between firms, based on the firm and the lawyer that you choose. 

For a joint divorce without children, the court filing charge is $260 at the courthouse.  Outside of that, if all issues have been resolved and both spouses fill out the form, there is no additional charge.  

Things get more complicated when there are children and assets involved.  

Additional Reading – Pre-Divorce Checklist

What’s the Difference Between an Uncontested Divorce and a Joint Divorce?

The difference between these two is the intent of the people involved in the divorce.  If both people agree on the divorce and sign the paperwork together then it is a joint divorce.  No one person is filing against the other person.  

If one spouse is filing against the other person and that other person is in agreement then it is an uncontested divorce. 

The requirement for either one is the same.  Everyone must agree on the issues and sign off before the paperwork is submitted.  In an uncontested divorce, there is a party that “files for divorce” against the other party (Plaintiff and Respondent).  

What Is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a part of the divorce proceedings that some couples may decide to draft up, while others may skip. It is, essentially, a contract that is legally enforceable for you and your partner when you do divorce. While it does not end your marriage, the separation agreement helps you to document how you both plan to handle your mutual affairs and things that may come up during the divorce proceedings. 

The separation agreement is often used to form the basis of a divorce decree. However, couples who still have a good relationship may choose to forgo the document. 

Do I Need a Separation Agreement?

Technically, you do not need a separation agreement– they are not required by law in order to divorce. They are, however, helpful during the proceedings. 

To divorce, you will usually have to prove that you and your spouse have lived apart for 12 months or more, which shows that your relationship has dissolved and can be used as grounds for divorce. 

You’ll also both need to confirm your separation date on your Divorce Affidavit. This is how you would typically move forward with a divorce if you do not have a separation agreement, and many couples have done it this way. 

Benefits of a Separation Agreement

Of course, as mentioned previously, there are many benefits to having a separation agreement in place, whether or not the document is expressly necessary. 

The separation agreement will aid in your divorce process in many different ways. For instance, it is a legally binding document where you are clear on each person’s responsibilities and rights.  This will help you avoid any misunderstandings or disputes down the road as you adjust to life after the divorce.

It also serves as tangible evidence of the terms that you have worked out together, and can show a judge– if a judge becomes involved in your divorce proceedings– that common divorce issues have been discussed and suitable measures have been put in place. This can affect the length of your divorce process, often helping to speed up the process. 

A separation agreement can also be useful later on if one of you does not uphold your side of the agreement. Hopefully, this will not become an issue, but if it does, the other party is protected. Because the separation agreement is a legal document, it is enforceable in court, too. 

How Do I Make a Separation Agreement?

If you and your spouse are discussing divorce, you can start on your separation agreement yourself without any outside help. You can discuss all of the issues that need to be worked out prior to divorce, such as custody or child support, and then begin recording your decisions and how you agree that you will handle these issues. 

Some of the issues that you should include in your separation agreement are a division of property, how to resolve future disputes, and child custody and parenting plans. All of this should be communicated in clear, unambiguous language so that there are no loopholes and the document is easy to understand. 

Once you have completed the tough part and had these conversations, which can no doubt be difficult, you will want to then turn it into a legally binding document. Bring the separation agreement to your divorce lawyer so that they can draw up the legally binding document for you both to sign.

Your lawyer will also ensure that the language used is accurate, unambiguous, and clear, as we touched upon above. They will be able to ensure that it meets the provisions required by Alberta of legally binding documents, too. Working with a Divorce Coach can help with outlining the agreement, ensuring that you’ve thought of all the areas where it would be helpful to have an outlined agreement, and they can also help you communicate through it and get the actual agreement to a place where the lawyer can take it and ensure that it is appropriately worded for filing.

Uncontested Divorce Alberta - Heidi Dinning

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does an uncontested divorce take in Alberta?

An uncontested divorce typically does not take as long as some other types of divorce, as the process is not dragged out as much. Generally, an uncontested divorce takes around 3 months to finalize. This is estimated from the date that the original paperwork is filed to the return of the filed divorce judgment. 

How much does uncontested divorce cost in Alberta?

Of course, every divorce will vary slightly in price, because these costs are determined by many individual factors that relate to your case. In general, an uncontested divorce in Alberta will come in at about $1740. This is cheaper than a contested divorce, which averages around $23700 in Alberta, depending on several factors such as the separation agreement. 

What does uncontested mean in a divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce where the spouses actually agree on all of the divorce-related issues and do not need to go to trial to have a judge make those decisions for them. This is not always common, but if you are able to get an uncontested divorce, you will save yourself a lot of stress and money, too. 

What is an uncontested divorce in Alberta?

In Alberta, an uncontested divorce is when neither of the spouses objects to the divorce itself, so they are not contesting it. They also agree on all of the divorce-related issues and do not need to go to trial to resolve this. The couple will have come to agreements in regards to issues such as custody, access, and spousal support. 

Do you need a separation agreement before divorce in Alberta?

If you are planning to divorce in Alberta, you do not necessarily need to have a separation agreement. You do not even need to have this agreement in order to separate. Instead, you will just need to be able to prove that you and your spouse have lived apart from each other for 12 months or more. This will demonstrate that your marriage has broken down enough, and will be proof of grounds for a divorce. However, a separation agreement can still be helpful when divorcing, so do your research to decide on this is step that you should take. 

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Heidi Dinning Divorce Coaching – Get One on One Help

If you or someone you know is facing separation or divorce and don’t know where to begin, that’s where I can help. I act as emotional support, thinking partner and guide for you, so you can retain your dignity, find clarity and feel hopeful for the future. To learn more, visit our certified divorce coaching page. 

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