While we often have a plan for our lives, it rarely goes the way we expect. Despite best intentions, rigorous planning, and extraordinary effort, the goals we want to achieve or set in motion don’t always come to fruition. This can be frustrating, and these losses or obstacles can become emotional times for us. It is during such a time that support is needed more than ever.
Know About Family Law
This need for support can be mirrored in the practice of family law. Difficult family situations, such as divorces and child custody disputes, can be emotionally draining scenarios, so having someone to lean on who is entirely in your corner can be comforting and reassuring. That’s when family lawyers step in.
To someone who has never entered the world of family law, the role of a family lawyer may be confusing. Therefore, let’s explore a quick rundown of what family law entails.
What is family law?
Family law is the area of law that deals with family matters and domestic relations. More specifically, family law handles cases on divorce, separation, parentage, guardianship, parenting arrangements, child support, and adult interdependent partner and spousal support. Family law is incredibly in-depth and thorough, with each type of case directed towards a type of Act.
The federal Divorce Act applies to married couples who have separated and are seeking a divorce. The Act also deals with parenting and custody arrangements and spousal support.
In regards to non-divorce situations, such as separations, the Family Law Act is upheld. This Act contains the core principles of Alberta’s provincial family law. It applies to issues such as:
- Determining the guardians of a child
- Setting out the rights and responsibilities of the guardians or parents
- Making parenting orders in cases where guardians live apart but can’t agree on their respective parenting responsibilities
- Enabling enforcement of time with a child
- Determining the amount of child support
- Determining the amount of support for spouses or adult interdependent partners
Parentage also falls under the Family Law Act. The basic rule is that the parents of a child are a birth mother and the biological father, unless there has been an adoption or the child has been conceived through assisted reproduction. For further information on adoption, refer to the Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act.
In Alberta, the ability to make decisions with regard to a child is tied to guardianship and not to parentage. Guardianship also refers to the Family Law Act.
The Family Law Act covers parenting arrangements as well. If guardians agree on how to exercise said guardianship powers after a separation or divorce, they may continue to do so without interference. If a disagreement arises, either guardian may apply for a parenting order.
The Alberta Child Support Guidelines made under the Family Law Act contains rules for determining the appropriate amount of child support. Parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child, so if either parent cannot come to an agreement on what amount is appropriate, a judge can be brought in.
Adult Interdependent Partner and Spousal Support
The Family Law Act also applies here, however, the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act defines what two people who live together in a relationship of interdependence looks like:
- The couple continuously lived together for three or more years;
- The couple shares a child together, or;
- The couple entered into an adult interdependent partner agreement
The world of family law is vast and can be complicated for those unfamiliar with it. By hiring a family lawyer, you can be confident that you are being represented by someone who understands the intricacies of the process thoroughly. For more information on family law in Alberta, turn to the Government of Alberta website.