GENERAL QUESTIONS Q: What can I expect to pay a lawyer to deal with my matter? A: Like so many things in law, the short answer is “It Depends”. In general a matter could cost as little as a few hundred dollars or could cost tens of thousands of dollars. It depends on the complexity of your matter, the urgency of your matter, your expectations, the opposing party’s expectations, the level of experience of the lawyer, the steps that have to be taken, the steps that have been taken… as you can see it is difficult to give a good approximation. We will do our best at your first appointment to give a general guide of what you can expect to pay once we review your matter. Contact us to set up an appointment.
FAMILY LAW QUESTIONS Q. Why do I have to provide my financial information when going through a divorce/separation? A: Financial information must be given to the other party during a divorce to figure out things like: 1) Child support; 2) Spousal support; and 3) Matrimonial Property. Both parties have to know what the other has to make sure they are entering into an agreement that is fair and reasonable to both parties. A lawyer or the Court can’t sign off on an agreement unless they know that both parties have seen each other’s financial information.
Q: When should I figure out the children's Christmas or other holiday schedule with my ex? A: January (only half joking). Do not wait until December or even November to discuss with your ex-partner what the plans are for Christmas/Holidays. If it isn’t already mapped out in an Order or in an Agreement, try to have the conversation over the summer. If you can’t agree then you'll have plenty of time to either refer to mediation, negotiations, arbitration or even a court application to iron out who gets the children over Christmas/Holidays.
Q: Am I a Guardian? A: If you are a biological parent of the child, you are a guardian of the child if;
A court of competent jurisdiction has ever made an order stating you are a guardian;
You and the other parent were married when the child was born;
You married the other parent after the child was born;
You were married to the other parent before the child was born, but divorced less than 300 days before the child was married;
You and the other parent lived together for at least 12 consecutive months during which time the child was born;
You and the other parent were living together in a common-law relationship at the time the child was born; and,
You and the other parent lived together in a common-law relationship after the child was born;
You have lived with the child for the first 12 months of their life;
The child has lived about the same amount of time with you as with the other parent since birth; and,
There is an agreement in writing with the other parent that established and identifies you as guardian.
If a court has granted an Order stating the other parent is the sole guardian, then you are not a guardian of the child. If you are not a biological parent of the child, legally you can only be a guardian through a court order or by being named a guardian in a Will.
If you are not a guardian and would like to become one, or if you are unsure contact us for some advice.
Q: I have lost my job, can I change my Child Support Order? A: Yes, you can make an application in court. The court may consider varying a previous Child Support Order where the payor can establish a "material change in circumstances" since the previous order was made. A loss of a job MAY be a material change in circumstance and depends on the facts. Contact us if you would like more information on changing a child support order.
Q: Is there any resources which may help with parenting, communication, and or children coping with separation or divorce? A: Separation and divorce often brings increased fear, anxiety, and stress regarding the parenting of a child. Many parents are often unprepared and unsure as to how to proceed with parenting effectively. Fortunately, the Government of Alberta offers several courses, both online and in-person, to help parents in such a situation. The Parenting After Separation course (PAS), is offered by the Alberta Government free of charge and is designed for parents and guardians who are separating or divorcing. The course can be accessed online or in person at either Calgary or Edmonton. The course is intended to provide preliminary insight into the legal process of separating or divorcing. Where the course truly succeeds is in the education it provides regarding the way your child is likely to behave and the emotions they may express and how you can make positive choices in terms of parenting the child. The course highlights the importance of maintaining a primary focus on your child’s needs, especially when going through such a stressful situation. The course explores topics such as relationship building blocks, coping techniques for children, the legal system, and parenting plans. The online course can be found here.
Focus on Communication in Separation (FOCIS) is a course intended for parents who are parenting apart. It is a voluntary six-hour in-person communication course. The focus of the course is on establishing positive and effective communication techniques while parenting apart. Improving communication will often reduce tension and anxiety between the parties which is beneficial to everyone involved. Some of the topics covered are the importance of listening, the impact of parental conflict on children, mindsets and perceptions, and understanding conflict. The in-person course is offered in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer. Information on the course can be found here. To register call 403-343-6400.
CORPORATE LAW QUESTIONS
Q: Why should I use a lawyer to incorporate? A: Aside from making sure your corporation meets all the requirements under the Business Corporations Act, a lawyer can make sure your corporation is incorporated in a way that not only meets your current needs but any future needs of your corporation. The lawyer can also make sure that the yearly annual returns are filed and any other maintenance of the corporation is done. Incorporating with a lawyer at first can save you time and money later.
Q: What’s a corporate annual return? Is that what I file with the CRA? A: A corporate annual return is different than the income tax return that your corporation files with the Canada Revenue Agency. A corporate annual return tells Corporate Registries that you are still a corporation and you must pay a fee to remain ‘in good standing’ with Corporate Registries. If you don’t file for a couple years, Corporate Registries can dissolve your corporation because you didn’t file your corporate annual returns.
CRIMINAL LAW QUESTIONS
Q. What should I do if am asked to provide a breath sample after being suspected of impaired driving? A1: Blow (short answer); and A2: Refusing to provide a sample that is lawfully demanded, or improperly providing a sample may result in you being charged, however you may wish to ask to speak to a lawyer before providing a sample. It should be noted that a person does not usually have a right to contact a lawyer before providing a sample if the sample asked for is a roadside screening test, however, if a person fails that and is arrested and taken to a police station to provide a more accurate sample, the person usually does have a right to contact a lawyer before providing a sample at the station or on a breathalyzer mobile station as opposed to an Approved Screening Device given roadside, (longer answer).