Family Law Practice Areas

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Separation and Divorce

Going through a separation can be upsetting, traumatic, scary and stressful. For couples with children, often the most important issue for both spouses is finding a way to ensure that their children are harmed as little as possible by the fact the relationship has come to an end. For couples without children, sorting out finances and establishing a fair division of assets with a minimum of rancour and unhappiness is key.

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Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are dispute resolution alternatives. Mediation involves the use of an impartial third party to assist the parties in dispute reach an agreement. An Arbitrator is also an impartial third party, but similar to a judge, an arbitrator will impose a decision if the parties cannot reach an agreement themselves.

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Relationship Agreements

Only a small percentage of family law disputes are resolved by trial. Most parties are able to resolve their issues by agreement, either through negotiation, mediation or collaborative practice. It is important that your Agreement be comprehensive, clearly written and that it will stand the test of time. The lawyers at Gordon Zwaenepoel have expertise in preparing agreements that are thorough and clearly reflect the wishes of their clients.

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Parenting After Separation

At Gordon Zwaenepoel, we share the belief that parenting your children well after separation is your most important task. We believe that good parenting is even more important when parents separate, as you and your children adjust to your new family circumstances. Children of separating parents need their parents to create a new future that provides a peaceful, cooperative environment for the children, whenever possible.

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Child Support

Child support can be ordered pursuant to the Divorce Act (Canada) and/or the Family Law (Alberta). Child Support is the right of the child. Parents and/or guardians cannot contract out of a child support payment. The Court always maintains jurisdiction to determine child support issues.

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Spousal Support

Spousal or partner support is the payment from one spouse to the other following the breakdown of a marriage or common law relationship. Payments are commonly made monthly, but may be at other intervals or just one lump sum. Spousal support is the term used for married couples, and is covered by the Divorce Act. Adult interdependent partner support is the term used for common law couples, and is covered by the Alberta Family Law Act and Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.

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Division of Assets

In Alberta the law regarding division of assets acquired by married spouses is different than the law that applies to common law spouses. It is possible that in some scenarios the outcome will be the same, but the starting presumptions are quite different.

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