Insight

New Family Property Act Legislation Benefits Unmarried Couples, OSUJI & SMITH FAMILY LAWYERS Report

New Family Property Act Legislation Benefits Unmarried Couples, OSUJI & SMITH FAMILY LAWYERS Report

Charles Osuji

Charles Osuji

August 25, 2021 04:50 PM

As of January 1st, 2020, the Family Property Act applies to both married (now divorced) and unmarried (now separated) couples, reports Osuji & Smith Lawyers, an award-winning law firm in Calgary, Alberta.

The updated legislation is good news for Alberta families who face complex issues like the division of property after divorce or separation.

At the end of a relationship, couples (both married and unmarried) rely on family law to come to agreements regarding child support, child custody and parenting, spousal support, and division of property. These agreements reduce stress and save money.

The lawyers at Osuji & Smith have over 41 years of experience in finding the best possible solutions for Alberta families.

CHILD SUPPORT

In a separation or divorce situation involving children of two working parents, Canadian legislation is in place to ensure the financial support is there to provide a safe and supportive environment for the family.

For divorced couples, the Federal Support Guidelines (part of the Divorce Act) apply. For unmarried parents, the Family Law Act addresses child support under the Alberta Child Support Guidelines.

The intention of these laws is to establish fairness and reduce conflict between family members, but things can become complicated. That’s why the family law attorneys of Osuji & Smith are available to help.

CHILD CUSTODY & PARENTING

In addition to financial support, issues of child custody and parenting add stress and complexity in situations of divorce or separation.

Please note that the Divorce Act removes the terms “custody” and “access” and replaces them with “parenting orders,” “parenting time” and “decision-making responsibility” aimed at reinforcing both parents’ responsibilities for their children and ensuring that the focus is on the child.

Under Alberta’s Family Law Act, the term “parenting” refers to how divorced or separated parents will make decisions regarding their children and how the time with their children will be shared between parents. The intention of this legislation is to ensure the best outcome for the children involved.

Child custody in Alberta involves 4 scenarios:

  1. Joint Custody
  2. Sole Custody
  3. Shared Custody
  4. Split Custody

In situations where a mutual decision cannot be made about the custody of the children, the family law attorneys at Osuji & Smith can help parents represent their case to the court so an agreement can be reached with the best interests of the children in mind.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

The Supreme Court of Canada defines spousal support entitlements in 3 ways:

  1. Contractual – When there is already a signed document in place, such as a prenuptial agreement
  2. Compensatory – When one partner gave up their career or earning opportunities to live with their partner
  3. Non-compensatory – When one partner faces economic hardships following separation or divorce

Spousal support payments are determined by several factors, including the length of the marriage or partnership, and whether children are involved.

Spousal support is a complicated topic. A dedicated family lawyer can help you avoid costly litigation and additional stress.

DIVISION OF MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY

Prior to January 1, 2020, the Matrimonial Property Act governed the division of property and assets between married couples who were divorcing. Now, that legislation has been renamed the Family Property Act and applies to unmarried couples in an interdependent relationship, as well.

The 2 primary criteria Alberta uses to determine interdependent relationships include:

  1. Cohabitation of 3 years or more
  2. Having a child together, by birth or adoption

For unmarried couples facing separation, their rights and entitlements are typically the same as the legal principles governing traditional divorce.

Former Adult Interdependent Partners (AIPs) are required to meet the following criteria to formally execute a division of property agreement:

  • The agreement must be in writing
  • The agreement must be signed by both parties without compulsion
  • The agreement must have certificates attached which are signed by separate lawyers

Note that the Family Property Act requires each partner to engage a lawyer to provide independent legal advice and assist in this process.

The Act defines family property as any property (including debt) that is acquired by either partner or jointly during the interdependent relationship or after separation. The value of the property is based on the date of trial, not the date of separation.

The division of property can be a complex process. For example, there are exemptions of property that are subject to division, like insurance proceeds or inheritances. The advice of property division lawyers like those at Osuji & Smith is essential to achieve a fair resolution.

Calgarians Applaud OSUJI & SMITH FAMILY LAWYERS

Dee M. believes she “made the best decision” when she reached out to Osuji & Smith to assist with her divorce. “After the first phone call… their confidence and knowledge put me at ease… I knew then I was in good hands.”

Another Osuji & Smith client reports, “Right from Day 1 of my separation and eventual divorce, Charles Osuji responded to all elements of this process with kindness, respect and legal intellect. He guided the process thoughtfully and we came to fair and intelligent conclusions together during times of extreme stress…” Jolene S. concludes, “Charles… does it all with an approachable personality, good intentions for all involved, and a smile… Osuji & Smith is top shelf in all categories…”

Osuji & Smith Lawyers in Calgary, Alberta

As the recipient of the 2021 Top Choice Awards in Calgary and a 2019 Hope Awards recipient, Osuji & Smith Lawyers have been recognized for their significant contributions in the lives of children, youth and families, and in our communities.

For more information about family law in Alberta, or for help in matters related to child support, child custody and parenting, spousal support, or division of property, contact the dedicated family lawyers at Osuji & Smith.

If you have more questions about FAMILY LAW please read our FAMILY LAW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS page

Trending Articles

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Announcing Spain's recognized lawyers for 2023.

Flag of Spain

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

The Best Lawyers in Chile™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms in Chile.

White star in blue box beside white box with red box on bottom

Thirteen Years of Excellence


by Best Lawyers

For the 13th consecutive year, “Best Law Firms” has awarded the most elite and talented law firms across the country through a thorough and trusted data review process.

Red, white and blue pipes and writing on black background

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag

The 2023 Best Lawyers in Portugal™


by Best Lawyers

Announcing the elite group of lawyers recognized in Portugal for 2023.

Green and red Portuguese flag

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Peru™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

Honoring our awarded lawyers for 2023 in Peru.

Red and white stripes with green leaf symbol

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2022


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

The Best Lawyers in Spain™ 2022

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

IN PARTNERSHIP

Rewriting 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮 One Verdict at a Time


by Justin Smulison

Athea Trial Lawyers was formed only a year ago by several prestigious lawyers seeking justice for their clients, and together they are making history.

Six female lawyers sitting in office

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Strength in Numbers: When Partnering Up May Be Best in Whistleblower Litigation


by Justin Smulison

Whistleblower claims make headlines when they result in multimillion-dollar settlements. But the journey to the courtroom is characterized by complexity and requires time and resources. Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams partner and The Best Lawyers in America awardee Michael R. Williams discusses when and why partnerships between counsel will strengthen whistleblower litigation.

A Blue Person in the Middle of White People

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards