CPLEA has created new resources on Family Law in Alberta in partnership with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. The five booklets in the series provide practical legal information on Child Custody and Parenting, Financial Support, Property Division, Representing Yourself in Family Court, and Young Parents. The booklets provide information for both married and unmarried couples. The booklets can be downloaded for free at www.cplea.ca/publications. Select Family Law from the drop down menu.
Being a self represented litigant means that you do not have a lawyer and are choosing to represent yourself in a legal proceeding. LawCentraAlberta provides links to basic information resources that may be of assistance to you, as well as those listed in the other Preparing for Court sections (see the menu on the left).
To get started and learn more about family law matters check out the following LawCentral topic pages and suggested resources listed below:
- Adoption and Birth: Are you wondering about maternity or paternity leave? Have you just given birth? Are you considering adoption? On this page you will find information about these issues.
Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship - If, by some misfortune, you become incapable of managing your affairs, someone else must take on that responsibility. You can prepare for that possibility in advance by making legal documents (Personal Directive and Powers of Attorney) that assign someone to handle these decisions. If you have not made these documents, someone will have to be assigned by the court to manage your affairs. In Alberta, the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA) describes the process for doing this. In addition, if you are losing some decision-making ability, but are not completely incapable, this Act describes some other options for assistance with decisions. Learn more on this page.
Common Law Relationships (Adult Interdependent Relationships (AIR)) - Across Canada, "common law relationships" are dealt with differently in law. In Alberta, such an arrangement is called an Adult Interdependent Relationship. The materials on this page detail how the Adult Interdependent Relationship Act affects your situation.
- Child Custody, Access and Parenting - If you want to be responsible for your child's care, select the resources on child custody. If you are wondering about visitation rights with your child, you are interested in access. If you want to know more about being granted parental authority over a child, resources on guardianship will be of interest to you.
Child and Spousal Support - Spousal support or maintenance may be awarded to a spouse in need. Familiarize yourself with how the laws apply to your specific situation. Find links and learn more about spousal and child support on this page.
- Marriage and Divorce - Are you going through a major life change? The resources listed on this page will help you find information about marriage, separation, and divorce, including resources on dividing up matrimonial property and changing your name.
CPLEA Suggested Resources
Not sure where to begin finding answers to your questions. Get started with our suggested resources. See additional resources below for more information.
The Court of Queen's Bench is the Superior Trial Court for the Province, hearing trials in civil and criminal matters and appeals from decisions of the Provincial Court. The Chief Justice and other Justices of the Court of Queen's Bench are also judges of Surrogate Matters, which has jurisdiction over probate and administration of estate matters. The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has sole jurisdiction over divorce and the division of property in the Province of Alberta, and presides over matters involving child and spousal support and child custody and access.
The Resolution and Court Administration Services Division provides administrative support to all the courts within the province, including electronic legal information services through Alberta Law Libraries. Topics in this section of the Alberta Courts website include: Mediation Programs; Family Justice Services; Court Forms and Orders Services (formly known as the Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) and LInC - Law Information Centres); Judgments; Jury Duty; ; Sheriff - Civil Enforcement; Review / Assessment Office; Rules of Court; Transcript Management Services; Publications; Video Conferencing. They also offer: Information services for the public on court procedures and legal services options; assistance with locating and filling out court forms; and referrals to other community legal services, as well as assessment services, dispute resolution services for child support, family and child medication, conflict intervention, family mediation, and civil mediation to help parties who filed an action in small claims court to reach a negotiated settlement.
This group of programs and services is offered by Alberta Justice in collaboration with the courts of Alberta. This webpage provides general information for those who are representing themselves in a family matter in either Court of Queen's Bench or The Provincial Court of Alberta.
This service is for people who don’t have a lawyer. Use it to:
- prepare for court
- navigate your family law matter through the Provincial Court
- discuss your issues, explore your options and get you referrals
- get a court order prepared and filed with the Court of Queen’s Bench and then have copies sent to the other party – after a parenting-related hearing
- review your divorce before its submitted to the Court of Queen’s Bench
The Provincial Court of Alberta is primarily the point of first entry into the justice system. The Provincial Court hears most of the criminal and civil cases in Alberta. All criminal cases start in Provincial Court, and 95% conclude there. Most civil cases also take place in Provincial Court. For example, cases involving landlord and tenant, most other claims involving less than $50,000 and many traffic, regulatory and bylaw enforcement hearings take place here. A majority of family law cases and child welfare cases are also heard by the Provincial Court.
This website contains forms that are available for use by the Bar and other members of the public, as well as notices governing practices or procedures within the different regions or divisions of the Provincial Court.
How to apply for an order that determines which guardian is directly responsible for the child and has the right to visit the child. This Alberta government website provides information on how to apply and file your order. It also has links to the relevant forms and information that will assist you in completeing the forms correctly.
This Student Legal Services (University of Alberta) booklet provides general information on child and spousal support.
This online resource from the Student Legal Services of Edmonton includes information about common law relationships and the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, property rights, other benefits and statutes (Alberta) and Federal Acts. This resource is also available to download as a PDF.
This resource helps parents walk through the steps of creating parenting plan. A parenting plan is a written document that outlines how parents will raise their children after separation or divorce. This interactive tool will give you some options to develop a personalized parenting plan. This tool is not intended as legal advice.
This online resource is from the Student Legal Services of Edmonton. Includes information about: Background; Eligibility; Procedure; Division Of Property; Matters To Be Considered In The Distribution Of Property; Property Held Outside Alberta; Possession of the Matrimonial Home; Marriage and Separation Agreements. This resource is also available for download as a PDF.
Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) offers a Do Your Own Divorce clinic to individuals who are looking for information about the divorce process and who have already settled their child support, property and debts and now want to divorce.Parties have to have been separated for more than one year, to have lived in Alberta for one year, and have an agreement as to matrimonial property division and child custody/access. For information on up and coming Do Your Own Divorce Clinics you can contact CLG at 403-234–9266.
This guide was developed for frontline service providers in Alberta who work with vulnerable individuals. It provides general legal information on Alberta law only.
The kits are a series of plain language resources which include forms and instructions to make applications and appeals for parenting, guardianship, custody and access, contact, enforcement of time with a child, child support, spousal support and other applications under the Family Law Act in Alberta. These booklets and kits are helpful to self represented litigants as they provide not only general information, but also step by step instructions and precedents.
These video resources have been produced by Alberta Justice - Resolution Services to assist Albertans going through the divorce process. - There are four vidoes which provide information on the following:
- A guide to divorce where there are dependent children, one spouse prepares the paperwork, and the other spouse is served with that paperwork. This video tells you about: what an uncontested divorce is.
- A guide to divorce without dependent children, one spouse prepares the paperwork, and the other spouse is served with that paperwork. This video tells you about: how to fill in the Statement of Claim for Divorce.
- A guide to divorce where there are dependent children, both spouses do the paperwork together, and come to the courthouse together.
- A guide to divorce where there are no dependent children, both spouses do the paperwork together, and come to the courthouse together.
This booklet offers some basic information that you should be aware of if you choose to represent yourself in Provincial Court - Family. The booklet focuses on preparing for and conducting a trial when you are not represented by a lawyer. This booklet includes information about:
- Resolution options and services that can help you solve your family law issues
- Making a Family Law Act application in the Provincial Court of Alberta
- Answers to questions many people have
- Court processes and court language
- How to find a lawyer
- Preparing for trial if you do not have a lawyer
This court procedure booklet tells you what steps to take when:
- You are making an application in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta;
- You already have a court file (e.g. divorce, matrimonial property, common law property);
- The application you want to make is NOT under the Family Law Act; and
- You have chosen not to get a lawyer and will be representing yourself throughout the court process.
This booklet produced by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) explains how the legal process works in Alberta. The booklet has information for people who were legally married and people who lived in a common law relationship.
Representing yourself in court is a daunting task. This issue of LawNow offers some suggestions for success.
This pamphlet from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta explains some basic points about the Alberta Rules of Court. It may assist you if: you have a legal problem and are looking at your options; you are deciding whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself; you are already representing yourself; or you have questions for your lawyer about the court process. The Alberta Rules of Court apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. They do not apply in Provincial Court (Small Claims Court). This 2 page full-colour PDF is available for free download.
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fees for court, you can make an application at a Court Registry office to find out whether or not you qualify to have the filing fee waived. Learn if you qualify to have filing fees waived and how to apply here.