resources and articles on family law matters.

Free Consultation (780) 423-2643

Do not expect a quick resolution when dealing with family courts

By Sarbjit Bains

Not many years ago, the Court of King’s Bench offered two Family Law Chambers courtrooms every weekday morning at 10 a.m, to deal with brief applications involving issues such as support and parenting. Those applications could normally be set two or three weeks in advance. There were no prerequisites other than proof of attendance at the Parenting After Separation seminar.

With the onset of the pandemic, the court implemented a new system which required the parties, in most non-urgent situations to first attend Docket Court before being permitted to make an application on the merits of the issues in Family Law Chambers. Docket Court dates were booking two or three weeks out. Essentially, there was a delay of a few weeks or perhaps one month before attending in Family Law Chambers. So what would normally take or three weeks had another two or three weeks added on.

Most recently, the Court of King’s Bench has implemented additional requirements which result in more delays to access Family Law Chambers. If the issues involve support or property division, both parties must have exchanged full financial disclosure. That may take weeks if not more to complete. In addition, parties must attend an Alternative Dispute Resolution process before seeking assistance of the courts.

We would be able to attend Family Law Chambers for matters deemed to be not urgent, fairly quickly in two or three weeks. Now, those applications will likely take more than a month or two to be heard resulting in hardship to one or both parties.

To be fair, in limited circumstances there are procedures in place to deal with what may be characterized as urgent matters. We do not decide what may or may not be urgent. The Court has set out limited scenarios where it decides what may be urgent to Docket Court might be averted.

If you are in a situation that may require a formal court application, it may be best to start the process quickly and gather financial disclosure and consider ADR alternatives. Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting for a significant period of time before you are able to access the judicial process.

The team at Demas Schaefer Family Lawyers can help clients navigate Alberta’s family court system. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Contact us today

Are you ready to move forward?
Set up an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce lawyers today.
We offer a free 15 minute telephone or video consultation to see how we can help.