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Calgary Family Law Blog

Estrangement or Parental Alienation – Which Is It?

It’s increasingly common for one parent to make allegations during contentious or difficult divorce proceedings. One type takes the form of parental alienation. What is this phenomenon, and are there other reasons why a child does not want to be with one of its parents? Or do issues exist that justify the child’s estrangement from that parent?

Self-employment and child support: It is not as easy as you think

Many people come to family law lawyers for answers regarding their child and spousal support. While we would love to give easy and simple answers, this is often not the case. This is especially the case where either one or both of the spouses are self-employed. When you work for someone else, your income is fairly easy to calculate. You will either have a salary or you will be paid hourly. More importantly, your tax return from previous years will be, for the most part, an accurate representation of what your income is, for the purposes of child and spousal support. However, this is often not the case for self-employed individuals.

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can occur in the context of divorce when parents are engaged in high conflict over custody of the children.

Parental alienation means that one parent is discouraging or preventing the children from having a relationship with the other parent without a justifiable reason.

The parent who is perpetuating the alienation is referred to as the alienating parent. The parent who is a victim of the alienating behaviour is the alienated parent.

Oops - Mistakes in Contracts

All family law contracts should be negotiated in good faith. There must be a clear "meeting of the minds" in forming a contract to ensure each party gives and receives exactly what he or she bargained for. That is not always the case. There are times when parties, in forming a contract, are not on the same page, and that can lead to costly consequences. 

Ordinary Residence and Commencing Your Divorce Action

Perhaps you are working in Saskatchewan but the family home is in Alberta where your children attend school. You may be wondering if you can start your divorce in either province or which one is the right province to start an action? 

Soby Boyden Lenz LLP Supports the Calgary Food Bank

Soby Boyden Lenz LLP believes in giving back and supporting our community. Over the past number of years and counting, Soby Boyden Lenz LLP graciously sponsors the annual Lady Member Guest Golf Tournament at Country Hills Golf Club (the "Tournament"). As Gold level sponsors, our firm is one of the major benefactors behind the Tournament's success. 

Separation Without Lawyers

Do I really need to consult a lawyer if I am separating from my spouse amicably and we have already agreed on how to share parenting, how much support is to be paid and how to divide matrimonial property?

Many couples who are in the process of separating or have recently separated ask themselves these questions. Over the years, as family law lawyers, we have seen many clients who made the decision to settle the terms of their separation themselves and sign separation agreements purportedly setting out the terms of custody and access of minor children, child support, spousal support and division of property without the benefit of one or both parties consulting a lawyer. One or both spouses consult the myriad of resources available online and find a precedent separation agreement online. This may become more prevalent in the current troubled economy when spouses are trying to cut costs as much as they can, particularly in circumstances when they are separating and having to fund multiple households. These clients come to us after the fact, sometimes many years after they have separated, when issues or disputes arise. Some clients come to us because they never obtained a divorce after separating and now want to remarry years later.

Hurdles to Undue Hardship

The Province has fallen on hard economic times, which has, for many, reduced cash flow for the purpose of child support. Payor parents who have lost their jobs may apply for a variation in child support, but financial hardship may continue for those fortunate enough to retain their current employment. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution - Another Way Forward

The traditional approach to Family Law has favoured an adversarial practice with the engagement of the Court system. While there are certainly situations when this is appropriate to provide a resolution to the parties, there are often other approaches that are better able to deal with the breakdown of the family in a way that does not involve the Courts or traditional litigation.

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