Alberta Divorce Process Change

Updated May 11, 2012

The Alberta Registries have informed us of a significant change in procedures that will potentially impact everyone filing for a divorce in the province.

Old: In the past, you were required to strike through any paragraphs which did not apply to your situation; you were not permitted to delete those paragraphs.

Update: it now appears that some registries are telling people to delete paragraphs that do not apply; others are telling people to leave the paragraphs in place but add “N/A” to signal the item is not applicable; and still others are telling people to strike through text that does not apply.

Different judicial districts appear to be establishing different requirements, and there does not (yet) appear to be a common standard among Alberta’s courts.

Because of this, our strong recommendation is, before you prepare your divorce papers, identify the court where you will be filing the papers and contact the court to ask: How should I deal with paragraphs that are not relevant to my situation?

Because of the above changes, some customers will have to edit the Word forms in our divorce kits to suit their purposes; printing out a PDF form and typing (or handwriting on it in cases where that is allowed) won’t work anymore if irrelevant paragraphs must be completely removed.

This change in some courts to deleting paragraphs appears to be based on an assumption, that all parties seeking a divorce in Alberta have access to a computer and word processing software. We think this is a dubious assumption.


32 thoughts on “Alberta Divorce Process Change

  1. Once you receive the checklist, it states how they want it done. At least the one for filing at the Edmonton court did.

  2. I spoke to the Divorce section at the Edmonton courthouse on June 11, 2012. They advised me to use “Not applicable” rather than deleting or striking out irrelevant paragraphs.

  3. I was just at the Calgary Courthouse today, June 26th, 2012 and was told to add 'no children' in section 6. I had a line through that section as I have no children and had to add that line to the original and all three copies. Not a big deal, just a heads-up.

    1. Thanks for the information, Gavin. At this point it seems like lots of courts are going their own (different) ways on this. For anyone planning to file, our recommendation is to ask what the courthouse where you will file wants before preparing the forms.

      Richard Day
      Self-Counsel Press

  4. I just called today (September 24, 2012) and was informed that for the STATEMENT of CLAIM you write “not applicable”, but, for the DIVORCE JUDGEMENT you must DELETE all irrelevant paragraphs. This was the Edmonton Courts Divorce section.

    1. Jayme, thank you for passing this on. It underlines how variable the approach is at the moment in the Alberta courts and why everyone should call the registry where they plan to file and ask what approach to use. Richard DayPublisherSelf-Counsel Press

  5. Yes, as Jayme had indicated I too called and they said striking out on the other documents other than the Divorce Judgment was acceptable. Delete all not applicable setions from the divorce Judgment and make sure its printed on Green paper.

  6. I have just called the Court of Queens Bench in Calgary and asked what to do with questions that are not applicable — the person i spoke to stated that I was to put NA under the question.

  7. April 2, 2013 – Court of Queens Bench – Edmonton…says to put N/A in all of the paragraphs that do not apply to my situation EXCEPT where the Judgement is & there I am to delete any paragraphs that do not apply to me…We are filing jointly

  8. Thank you for the feedback. We do wish that the Alberta courts would agree on a single approach to this issue!So long as this problem lasts, our advice is to always check before filing. Richard DayPublisherSelf-Counsel Press

  9. I moved to Canada 10 years ago and I have been staying here ever since except one month vacation every year in my home country China. I got divorced 2 years ago in China because I married there and my spouse is living there. I am wondering if my divorce is valid in Canada.

  10. If your marriage took place in China, then your divorce there should be valid in Canada.If your marriage took place in Canada, you will need to go through the divorce process in Canada. If this is necessary and your spouse agrees to the divorce and will sign some papers acknowledging this, then getting a divorce in Canada is a fairly simple process that you can do yourself. Richard DayPublisher

    1. Thanks for the information. What if I didn't use my Canadian Passport to have the divorce done? China doesn't accept dual-citizenships. Could this divorce be valid in Canada as well?

  11. I am from BC, my girlfriend is from Alta. We both are going through the divorce process..what I am wondering is, can she use the same divorce kit that i am using, or does she have to get one for her province?

    1. While the basics of divorce law are set by Ottawa, each province has its own procedures, requirements, and paperwork for an uncontested divorce. So when one files for divorce, you need to use the paperwork of the province in which are are filing your application. Also, you need to file in the province in which you are normally resident.So, if you are normally resident in BC and your girlfriend is normally resident in Alberta, each of you will need to file in your own province. BC paperwork will not work in Alberta, nor will Alberta paperwork be accepted in BC. Richard Day

  12. As we said in the earlier reply, if your marriage was in China and your divorce was done in China and is valid in China, your divorce should be valid in Canada.We do not think that your Canadian passport is relevant.From what you have described, you got married in China and two years ago you got divorced in China. So, legally, you are a single person living in Canada. Richard Day

  13. I'm helping my friend with the divorce papers to file. He lives here in AB but his spouse lives in Chile and they were married here in AB. She wants the divorce as well and is not going to contest it. Should he file joint or sole?

    1. It should be easier if he files as a sole applicant. All she needs to do is accept \”service\” of the paperwork and not contest it.Richard Day

  14. I was wondering if someone could inform me as to what I need to include in a “Supplemental Affidavit “…I did not include one of my middle names, which was on my original marriage certificate, on the “Divorce Judgement” so I need to have the Divorce Judgement revised to include the missing middle name…??

    1. There should be no need to have the Divorce Judgment revised, unless you legally changed your name after your were married (most people simply start using their spouse's surname after mariage and do not go through a legal name change to do this).

      So if you did not legally change your name after you married, and you want to revert to your pre-marriage name after divorce, and that name is on your birth certificate, then normally you will only need a copy of your birth certificate to deal with any organization where you want to have your name change (for example a bank). Your divorce certificate is not needed in this proces.

      Richard Day

  15. I installed the software as a 'joint' divorce. My ex is going overseas in a couple weeks for a month & a half. Hopefully I can get at least the initial documents ready for him to sign before he leaves – I am HOPING that he does not have to do a whole separate set of divorce documents on his own?? Or does just one of us draw up the documents and then we both sign them??

    1. In a joint divorce just one of you can draw up and file the documents, so long as your spouse is willing to sign them.Richard Day

    1. Splitting the matrimonial home would normally be agreed upon by both parties in a written Separation Agreement. We have a guide to preparing them (The Separation Guide) as well as a forms kit. Richard DayPublisherSelf-Counsel Press

  16. Thank you. Would there be a specific reason to do this if we have already agreed on this? We have already filed for joint divorce; so a separation agreement at this point might be past the issue I think?

    1. So long as you have agreed on the division and are comfortable with the agreement, there is no reason to do a separation agreement.Richard Day

  17. Im just confuse. I just bought this Divorce kit 2 days ago and I've heard with my colleagues that the law or procedure had been change. so I can't ask my friends who had done with their divorce years ago, 'coz procedure might not same as before.
    my question is, should I get a lawyer to help me or advice me what do to?

    1. Provincial courts \”fine tune\” the paperwork and procedures almost every year. The changes are usually not daramatic — just small changes to the paperwork, usually. Your friends who did their divorce will have gone through a process similar to the current one, but not identical. As long as you read and follow the instructions in the kit, and you and your spouse are in agreement on the major issues (child and spousal support and access) the process is not difficult and you should be able to do it without the costs of retaining a lawyer. Richard Day

  18. I just did this today at Calgary Queen's bench. No need to find a commissioner of Oath and pay money. Go to the Family Justice window same floor as the Queen's bench and they will provide you with a commissioner of oath who actually knows what they are doing for free. My paper's were rejected because I didn't attach original mariage certificate and have it signed by the commissioner of oath. when I went back the lady I paid $80 said she couldn't do it. had to go find a notary extra$40 and had to come back and get her to sign again because she was the one who saw us sign the original documents.
    Save yourself the hassle and extra money. two trips to the courthouse but they were accepted the second time.I could have done it right there for free.

    What a waste.

  19. Useful information, Mary, thank you!We are not sure that every courthouse offers this service, but it is worth people asking and saving some money if the service is there in the region where they live. Richard Day

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