Family Law

Family law encompasses the diverse set of legal issues that arise in the context of interpersonal relationships. These may include property division in divorce and common law relationships, matters relating to child, spousal or adult interdependent partner support, all matters relating to the child, agreements including cohabitation agreements, prenuptial agreements, and separation and divorce agreements, and the appointment of a Guardian and/or Trustee for an incapacitated adult. Family law matters may also touch on related areas of law such as real estate and wills and estates.

•Division of property may require determining what assets exist, having them valued, dealing with assets in other jurisdictions, analyzing and tracing exemptions, or working with experts to value assets such as business, real estate, pensions, and stock options.

•Matters relating to the child may include custody and access, guardianship, parentage, emergency protection orders, adoptions, parenting co-ordination, child’s counsel, and Hague convention applications to have a child who has been improperly removed from the jurisdiction returned.

•Support issues may include working with experts to determine the payor’s income if necessary, calculation of support both retroactive and ongoing, and enforcement of support orders.

The lawyers at Daunais McKay & Harms have extensive experience in all aspects of family law work. Our team includes trained mediators, arbitrators, collaborative law lawyers, and litigators. We are able to use whatever method of dispute resolution best suits you to help you achieve your goals. Several of our lawyers have extensive expertise in family law appeal work. We also provide expertise in matters of real estate, wills and estates, and estate litigation.

Family Law FAQ

How is matrimonial property divided?

In Alberta, there is a legal presumption that all property acquired during the marriage is divided equally between spouses. However, there are exceptions to this rule in certain circumstances. There are also exemptions for property acquired before the marriage, gifts, tort settlement payments, and inheritances.

How is child support determined?

Child support is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines and based on the payor’s income and the number of children of the relationship. Extraordinary childcare expenses, such as extracurricular activities and daycare, are paid for proportionately based on the parents’ incomes.

How is custody determined?

Under the Divorce Act, custody is determined based on the best interests of the children. This requires consideration of the “conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of the child”. It is best for parents to reach a harmonious agreement with respect to custody of their children, but if necessary a court will make an order that is viewed to be in the best interests of the child.