Alberta Family Law: FACT or FICTION?

This is a fun page where we get to “bust” (and sometimes confirm!) some of the myths about family law that we hear when we tell people at parties that we are family lawyers.

All family law scenarios are fact specific and unique.  The answers given on this page are not intended to be specific legal advice for any particular client and instead provide brief general information on the topics covered.  We encourage anyone with a family law problem to speak to a family law lawyer about their particular situation and to get detailed and specific advice and assistance.

Kelly Elizabeth Smith & Christine N. Shepherd

Overheard in the Hot Tub...

Christine and Kelly's take

Marijuana is legalized so I can smoke it all the time during my parenting time.

BUSTED: In our experience the Courts view any sort of substance that impairs a parent’s judgment in the same way.  As it would be problematic for you to be parenting if you are intoxicated from alcohol, the same issue arises if you are unable to make good parenting decisions owing to intoxication from marijuana.

I signed an Agreement I printed off the internet so my spouse is no longer able to claim my pension, right?

BUSTED: While sometimes documents that are signed informally without the benefit of disclosure and independent legal advice leads to some recognition that you and your spouse did intend to reach some sort of agreement, if you did not have the benefit of exchanging complete financial disclosure and speaking with a lawyer about what that agreement means for you, it is unlikely to be binding on you.  This means that there may still be claims to the assets you hold in your name, for example, a pension.

Am I automatically divorced when my husband goes to jail?

BUSTED: No, you are not.  If you wish to have a divorce, you must have a Divorce Judgment granted which is a very specialized process.  If you think you want to take that step, consult a family law lawyer.

The father of my child is a university student, but his parents are multi-millionaires. I am going to get a big child support payout based on his parent’s fortune.

BUSTED: Child support is payable based on the income of the payor. However, it is important to keep in mind that as your child grows, his father may move on to a successful career and his child support payment may be adjusted as his income grows.

My spousal support obligation could be reduced if I have a very high child support payment.

TRUE: Child support always takes precedence over spousal support and where there is insufficient income to pay both, child support will have to be satisfied first. 

More to Come...