How Does Adultery Affect Your Divorce in Alberta?

How Does Adultery Affect Your Divorce in Alberta?

It is natural for the connection between partners to ebb and flow, but if one partner secretly pursues a romantic or sexual relationship with somebody else, the breach is severe. For many couples, a partner’s cheating spells the relationship’s end.

Divorce is among the most challenging adversities many people face. In addition to the highly emotional nature of a separation, individuals must navigate the division of property, the updating of important documents, and drawing up a parenting plan for any children they share with their former spouse. The presence of adultery as a reason for your separation may have particular impacts on your divorce in Alberta.

If you are separating from your partner as a result of adultery, contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers today to discuss your case, and see how we may be able to help you.

Grounds for Divorce in Alberta

In Alberta, there are three grounds on which you may be able to get a divorce: cruelty, separation, and adultery. By law, adultery is defined as a married person voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with someone who is not their spouse. In order to prove that adultery took place, the person who committed it must provide a signed affidavit, or there must be evidence (eg. photographs, videos, eyewitness testimony).

Divorce on the grounds of separation requires the two partners to live separate and apart for one year before the divorce can be granted. Cruelty and adultery may grant immediate separation.

A court may not recognize there to have been adultery if:

  • the alleged adultery did not take place;
  • one spouse encouraged the other to commit adultery in order to get divorced without a year of separation; or
  • the spouse who was cheated on has forgiven the spouse who cheated, and has agreed to continue being married.

One instance of forgiveness does not absolve the spouse who has committed adultery for future acts. If, for example, you forgive your spouse for cheating, but then they cheat again, you may still file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. 

Sometimes, in a marriage that is non-monogamous, the spouses may have an agreement that they can sleep with other people. The traditional definition of adultery may therefore not apply in such a case. However, this does not mean “anything goes”: if a spouse engages in sexual activity with someone else in a way that violates the couple’s agreement, this may be considered adultery.

While some couples believe that claiming adultery might expedite their divorce process, this may not always be the case. The preparation and scheduling of a trial may in reality take more time, money, and effort than spending a year separated before filing for divorce.

If you are wondering whether adultery is a viable grounds for divorce in your case, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our Edmonton divorce lawyers.

Adultery and the Division of Property

When a couple divorces, they must typically divide the property they acquired together. This may include a marital home, vehicles, large furniture items, as well as intangible assets such as investments and stocks.

Adultery usually has no impact on the way property is divided. Each spouse is entitled to keep the assets they owned before the marriage. Assets they bought together are often split equitably, taking into account both the financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse.

One instance in which adultery may have an effect on the division of property in a divorce is if the spouse who committed adultery spent family assets on the person with whom they had the affair. In such a case, they may be liable to their spouse for those dissipated assets. Contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers to learn more.

Adultery and Spousal or Child Support

Every parent is required to provide financial support to their children. Child support is calculated based on a number of factors, including the parents’ incomes, and how much support they are providing through day-to-day care. The goal is to provide the children with the best and most consistent care possible. Where there is a disparity in income between the parents, the higher earner will typically be required to pay more in child support, regardless of where the child resides. 

Spousal support, in which a higher-earning spouse provides ongoing financial support to their ex-partner, is intended to reduce the strain of financial hardship on a partner who may have been economically disadvantaged by the divorce. 

Both spousal and child support are built on economic considerations, and adultery typically does not play a role in a court’s decision-making. Where adultery may play a role is when decisions are being made regarding a parenting plan.

Impact on Parenting Plan

A parenting plan involves important decisions such as where a child will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how the parents’ decision-making responsibilities will be divided. In deciding, a court will prioritize the best interest of the child. 

What does “in the child’s best interests” really mean? The court typically takes into account the child’s specific circumstances, including their age, education, history with each parent, as well as any particular needs they might have. Adultery may be considered when the circumstances of the cheating, or the involvement of a new partner, have an impact on the children’s well-being.

Contact Our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Adultery is a serious transgression within a relationship. If you and your spouse are navigating the end of your marriage as a result of adultery, our Edmonton divorce lawyers may be able to help you approach the process with clarity. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more on how we may be able to help you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of divorce law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta divorce lawyer.

How to Prepare for Your First Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer

How to Prepare for Your First Consultation With a Divorce Lawyer

The end of a marriage can be a lengthy process, bearing a tremendous emotional and financial toll. From the practicalities of disentangling living arrangements and finances to planning the future of your children, there are many important decisions to be made at this emotionally volatile time.

Not only may our Edmonton divorce lawyers be able to help clarify the legal process of your separation, we may also be able to provide key guidance as to approaches that minimize your stress. Whether you are interested in alternative dispute resolution, or would like to know more on what is an uncontested divorce in Alberta, our team is happy to talk.

Rest assured, your consultation will be confidential, as will any information you share with our Edmonton divorce lawyers about your case. Contact us today to schedule a time to speak with us, and learn how we may be of service to you.

Prepare an Overview of Your Particular Circumstances

One of the first things our Edmonton divorce lawyers will ask is for you to describe your situation. The more you can prepare in advance of your first consultation, the more efficiently we may use our time together. 

Details that may be useful include:

  • The major dates of your relationship, including the date of marriage and the date you separated
  • If you are no longer living with your spouse, the date that one of you moved out of the matrimonial home
  • A breakdown of your and your spouse’s roles in managing and maintaining the household
  • Details of both your and your spouse’s careers, noting if either of you supported the other by taking a step back in your own career
  • If you have children, an overview of the relevant circumstances: how old they are, how you and your spouse have historically divided caring for them, any particular needs they may have
  • And more

Many factors may be considered when settling on the terms of a divorce. There may be spousal support ordered, and/or child support. Wondering what are the Alberta child support guidelines, or how property division might work in your case? Schedule your consultation with our Edmonton divorce lawyers today.

Prepare Copies of Important Documents

Having copies of your important documents on hand can help your Edmonton divorce lawyer better understand your case. If available, come to your first consultation with copies of the following:

  • Your marriage certificate
  • Notice of Assessments from the CRA for both yourself and your spouse, over the past three years
  • Any business or partnership agreements you or your spouse own, whether separately or jointly
  • Pay stubs for both you and your spouse
  • If there is one, your marriage contract (eg. prenuptial agreement)
  • If there is one, a separation agreement
  • Any court documents with which you and/or you spouse have been served
  • Any other documents you think may be of help

Prepare a List of Your and Your Spouse’s Assets and Liabilities

A major part of settling a divorce can be deciding how to divide property. The first step to doing so is articulating what assets you and your spouse own jointly and separately, and what liabilities may be tied to you both.

As much as possible, try to record a list of the belongings you owned prior to your marriage, the belongings your spouse owned prior to your marriage, and belongings you and your spouse purchased or received during the marriage. Take note of major gifts, as well as assets received by inheritance. 

Prepare a List of Questions

Your first consultation with an Edmonton divorce lawyer is an opportunity to address the legal questions and concerns you may have about the divorce process. It can also be important to ensure you are comfortable working with your lawyer, particularly given the sensitive personal nature of your legal matter.

Prepare a list of questions to ask your lawyer at your first consultation. Common questions include:

  • What is your experience in Alberta family law?
  • How would you approach a case like mine?
  • What is the easiest way we can resolve this case?
  • Does my case raise any concerns for you?
  • Are there actions I should or should not take?
  • What advice do you have for resolving issues relating to my children?
  • How much do you charge?
  • What do we do next?

At Verhaeghe Law, we prioritize clear, compassionate service, striving to help you understand your rights throughout the process of a divorce. Book your initial consultation with us today to learn more.

Contact Our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Today for a Consultation

A divorce can be one of the most difficult trials a person faces in their life. Not only is it the end of a relationship, it may also be a fundamental overhaul of one’s financial, emotional, and physical circumstances. At Verhaeghe Law, our Edmonton divorce lawyers are here to help make the process as smooth as possible. Contact us today to discuss your particular case and schedule your initial consultation.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of divorce law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta divorce lawyer.

Tips for Reducing Your Stress During a Divorce

Tips for Reducing Your Stress During a Divorce

A divorce can be one of the most stressful times of a person’s life. Even the most amicable separation often carries tremendous grief, as well as the logistical stress of disentangling two interconnected lives. If a divorce is contentious, there may be the additional stress of a formal legal process, potentially involving court.

Divorce can be particularly stressful where children are involved - from deciding how to navigate telling the kids about the divorce to negotiating parental decision-making responsibilities and child support. Working with child support lawyers, mediators, and other professionals may help alleviate some stress. Nonetheless, many important actions are demanded of the divorcing parties in this highly emotional time, and it is easy to experience burnout as a result.

It may be beneficial to take some time to reflect on what you need during this challenging period. Reducing your stress during a divorce may not only improve your quality of life in the present moment, it can also help you clear your head for the decisions to come.

If you have questions about the legal process surrounding a divorce or separation, contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers today and see how we may help you.

Give Yourself a Break

Recognize that all feelings are valid, and there is no one “right” way of processing grief. It is all right if you are not functioning at optimal capacity during this time, and it is all right if you are throwing yourself into your work. It is all right if you are not able to care for your loved ones with the same attention as usual, or if you are falling behind on your day-to-day tasks. 

Where possible, try to take some time to yourself. This can mean treating yourself to a night in, going on a trip you have been putting off, or simply carving out the time to meditate or take a nap. Take time to cultivate your most important relationship: with yourself.

Reach Out For Help

You do not have to go through this alone. Reaching out to friends and family can make a big difference in your life while you navigate a divorce. It can be very helpful to talk your feelings out loud, and receive the emotional support of those around you. Spending time with others can also remind you that you are surrounded by an abundance of love.

Let yourself reach out for professional help, too - even if you already feel supported by your community. Working with licensed mental health professionals may help you reflect on your relationship, process your grief, and begin to look toward the future.

Take Care of Your Body

Even in ordinary times, many of us spend a lot of time in our heads, forgetting how profoundly influenced we are by our bodies. During a divorce, it can be easy to forget to eat, to forgo sleep, and to avoid exercising. 

Try to take care of your body even if you do not feel like it. Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods every day. Make sure you get enough sleep and sunlight. Go outside. Move your body, whether through casual activities such as walking, or more intensive exercise. It has been scientifically proven that physical activity can have a beneficial impact for people working through grief.

Seek Legal Support

Divorce is a legal process, and many of the stressors associated with it involve complex administrative decisions. Working with our Edmonton divorce lawyers may alleviate a lot of stress. From helping you sort out how to deal with debt, to advising on your decisions regarding children, spousal support, property divisions, and more, a divorce lawyer may guide you through the process, and help you understand your legal rights. 

Contact Our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Every divorce is unique. At Verhaeghe Law, we would be more than happy to listen to the details of your particular case, and see how we may be able to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of divorce law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

Tips on How to Tell Your Kids About Your Divorce

Tips on How to Tell Your Kids About Your Divorce

Even the most amicable separation is often painful, stressful, and emotionally charged. Going through a divorce is made doubly challenging when children are involved. There may be changes to the children’s living arrangements, as the separating parents negotiate decision-making responsibility (formerly custody). Sometimes, collaboration is simply not possible, and the parents may undergo a contested divorce, which can add tremendous stress on the entire family.

If you would like to gain more information and talk through the legalities of divorce, contact our Edmonton divorce lawyers today for a consultation.

Whatever the circumstances, once you have decided to get divorced, there is a clear first step regarding your children: letting them know. Every family is different, and there is no singlemost right way to have this conversation. However, there are some best practices you may want to consider.

Collaborate With Your Ex

If it is safe to do so, collaborate with your ex to plan the talk. It may be painful, difficult, or awkward, but talking with your kids together will show that you are both committed to your roles as parents, even after separating. If you are not able to work together with your ex because of safety concerns or irreconcilable conflict, it may be prudent to seek help formulating your plan. This can be through the support of friends and family, licensed mental health professionals, mediation coaches, Edmonton divorce lawyers, or more.

Choose a Good Time and Place

Try to choose a time and place for the conversation that will allow your children to have the space they need to process the news. It may be a good idea to avoid stressful periods of time, such as days leading up to exams or sports competitions. It may also be good to have this conversation somewhere private and comfortable, such as the family home.

Plan What You Will Say

Your children will likely remember this conversation. Try to be mindful of the information you are relaying, the manner in which you do it. If you have multiple children, ensure you tell them all at the same time, so that no one hears the news second-hand (eg. from a sibling). Begin by telling the basic information, at the level of understanding relevant to your youngest child. Later, you can have separate conversations with older children if you would like to get into more specifics.

It is important to maintain as kind and balanced a tone as possible, avoiding blame and negative talk about your ex. This can be tremendously challenging to do, but is important for your children’s future relationship with both of their parents. Even if it is not wholly true, using “we” language (“We have decided…”) can help provide your children with some reassurance that even in this separation, they still have the united care of both their parents. 

Give Details - But Don’t Overshare

Your children deserve to know why the divorce is happening, but it may be inappropriate to share with them the more personal, painful details of why your relationship is ending. Reassure your children that the divorce is not their fault, and that it will not have an impact on your love and support. 

Sometimes simple, firm statements can be most useful - “We grew apart,” or “We aren’t happy together,” or “We like each other but don’t love each other anymore.” Even if the reality is messy, try to create a sense of certainty and calm for your children during this turbulent time.

Receive Your Children’s Responses

There is no one “good” or “right” response to news of a divorce, and your children may react in ways that surprise you. Some kids may have a big reaction, while others may not have any discernible response at all - which in and of itself is a response. Try to be present to receive whatever they offer. Be there to receive and address your children’s questions, and try to be as calm as possible even if they react with anger or tears.

Invite your children to ask questions, but do not pressure them to do so. It can take time to receive this news, and to process feelings. This conversation is the first in many.

Seek Help For Yourself

While you strive to present a calm demeanour for your children, the reality is you are likely facing a great deal of stress and turbulent emotions yourself. Take the time you need to take care of yourself. Reach out to friends and family for support, whether that means talking through your divorce, help with meals and child-rearing logistics, or more. Speak with a licensed mental health professional, who may be able to help you process your own emotions. Remember, modelling healthy self-care is a gift to your children.

Contact Our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers Today for a Consultation

At Verhaeghe Law, our divorce lawyers understand that every case is unique. We are here to address any questions you may have on the legal process of separation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see what our team may be able to do for you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of divorce law, and is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

Property Division for Divorcing Couples

Property Division for Divorcing Couples

Canadian law regards marriage as an equal partnership. Regardless of whether a spouse is the primary breadwinner or makes a lower income than their husband or wife, their contribution to the union is considered equal to their partner’s. 

One of the most challenging parts of divorce is determining how to divide property. Unfortunately, divorce can trigger feelings of uncertainty and insecurity. Couples may attempt to regain a sense of control by attaching exaggerated importance to matrimonial assets, often creating emotional battlegrounds, especially over items that hold emotional value. 

Whether you are legally married or in an “adult interdependent relationship,” also known as a common-law relationship, the property division during a divorce proceeding in Alberta is governed by the province’s Family Property Act.

How is Shared Property Divided?

Family property is typically divided into three main categories: 

  • Property that will not be divided
  • Property that may be divided unequally
  • Property that will be divided equally

Property that will not be divided might include items owned before the marriage, a direct gift from a third party, or an award or settlement from an insurance claim not related to property (e.g., accident benefits after a motor vehicle collision, disability benefits, etc.) 

Property might be divided unequally in certain nuanced situations where one spouse believes they should be fairly entitled to a larger share than their partner. For example, if the value of a shared property has increased due to the sustained efforts of one party, they may believe they should be entitled to a larger share. A judge will determine what is fair based on a variety of factors, including:

  • The roles and contributions of the spouse during the relationship
  • The length of the relationship
  • Any pre-existing agreements or prior court orders
  • The income, earning capacity, liabilities, obligations, and resources of the spouse
  • And possibly more

Property that is usually divided equally typically includes significant assets and debts that came to be owned during the marriage. These can include:

  • Money 
  • Real estate, vehicles, furniture, and other personal items or collections of value
  • Investments, insurance policies, and pensions
  • Business interests
  • And possibly more

A couple's shared property can also include debts incurred during the marriage. These might include credit card debts, unpaid loans, mortgages, lines of credit, overdrafts, and other financial obligations. 

Division of property can be particularly challenging .Sometimes, a judge can order the sale or transfer of one spouse’s assets to the other. 

First Steps

The first step in the property division process is to make a detailed list of all shared assets and debts, including what was owned before, during, and after the separation. This information must be shared via a Disclosure Statement. Spouses can also file a Notice to Disclose application if their partner has not provided their requisite information. 

Certain items may need to be valued or appraised if spouses are unsure of or cannot agree on their worth. To do so, they might consider how much a particular item would cost to replace or make a market comparison to assess the value of similar items. Couples and their lawyers may wish to hire expert appraisers to determine the worth of property whose value might change over time, such as business interests or collectible items. 

Protecting Your Property

If you suspect your spouse may not behave reasonably in your divorce proceedings and might sell or try to hide shared property without your knowledge, consider taking steps to protect what’s yours. You may wish to update your passwords, ensure all future bank and credit transactions require both your signature and your spouse’s, and update any beneficiaries to your estate. 

Contact Verhaeghe Family Lawyers Today

If you are considering divorce, our Edmonton divorce lawyers  may be able to help you understand your options. Contact us today for more information and to schedule a consultation.

* Please note that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice but rather as a general overview of family law. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

Causes for Breakdown in Marriages in Alberta

Causes for Breakdown in Marriages in Alberta

In accordance with the Divorce Act, in order to be granted a divorce in Alberta, married couples must prove to the courts that their marriage has broken down irreparably. There are three legal reasons, or "grounds," on which Canadians may file for divorce. These are:

  • Separation
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty

If you are considering divorce and are unsure on which grounds you should file, an Alberta divorce lawyer may be able to help you decide what is best for your situation.


Typically, the most straightforward and inexpensive way to obtain a divorce in Canada is to file on the grounds of separation. To be granted a divorce on the grounds of separation, spouses must have lived apart for at least one year. This does not necessarily mean that couples need to reside in different dwellings during the year-long separation. If couples sleep in separate rooms, eat meals separately, maintain different schedules, and can otherwise prove that they have been living apart, their living arrangement might qualify as a legal separation.

In cases where spouses  have reached a mutual agreement regarding key issues related to their divorce, including child custody, child and spousal support, and the distribution of property, assets, and debts, their divorce might be considered “uncontested.” With no disputes to resolve, separated couples can finalize their uncontested divorce without making a court appearance. By working with an Alberta divorce lawyer, separated couples filing for an uncontested divorce may be able to complete the process in an efficient, timely, and inexpensive manner.


To file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, a spouse must provide the court with credible evidence that their partner had sexual relations with someone outside of the relationship. When filing on the grounds of adultery, a spouse can circumvent the one-year separation period and initiate divorce proceedings immediately.

That said, typical courtroom waiting times can often delay divorce proceedings for a year or more. Additionally, going to court to prove adultery can be expensive and emotionally challenging. In many cases, even if infidelity played a role in the marriage breakdown, couples choose to file on the grounds of separation. A spouse who has cheated on their partner cannot file for divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Physical and Mental Cruelty

To file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty, a spouse must provide the court with evidence that their partner has committed at least one act of domestic or family violence and demonstrate how this abuse has caused an irreparable breakdown of the marriage. 

According to the government of Alberta, family and domestic violence is an abuse of power within a family or an intimate relationship. The abuse can jeopardize the physical, emotional, and psychological safety of the abuser’s spouse or other family members.

Similar to filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery, filing on the grounds of cruelty can be expensive. These kinds of divorce proceedings can take years to resolve, and are often emotionally retraumatizing. Since the history of abuse would not necessarily impact the amount of spousal or child support granted to the victims of domestic cruelty, it may not always be in the family’s best interests to file for divorce on these grounds.

Contact Verhaeghe Family Lawyers Today

If you are considering divorce, our Edmonton divorce lawyers may be able to help you understand what options might be available to you. Contact us today for more information and to schedule a consultation.

* Please note that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice but rather as a general overview of family law. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.