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In Alberta, the plaintiff is the spouse filing the divorce and the defendant is the other spouse.
An uncontested or undefended case is called a desk divorce. This means that the spouses agree on the terms of the divorce.
You should file in the city, county or municipality where you or your spouse live. If there are children involved with the case, you will need to file where the children live.
You will need to have or obtain your marriage certificate. If you do not have an original of the certificate, you may obtain one by contacting the Vital Statistics Agency (https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0200312078). You do not need to wait until you have it to proceed with LegalZoom.com.
In 1986 Canada passed the Divorce Act, a federal act which applies to all provinces and territories in Canada. The Divorce Act sets out the grounds for divorce. There are both fault and no fault bases. The Divorce Act also covers spousal and child support and child custody. Property and debt distribution fall under provincial or territorial law.
LegalZoom.com provides the documents necessary to complete a divorce under the Divorce Act and provides a separation agreement which covers property and debt issues. An agreement must be reached regarding property and debt issues in order to process the separation agreement. If agreement cannot be reached regarding these issues, you may need to contact an attorney.
You may file in any province or territory where either spouse has resided for the prior year. If there are children involved with the case, you will need to file where the children reside.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
There are three possible grounds for a divorce in Canada, as follows:
1) Living separate and apart for at least one year before the divorce judgment. This is the no-fault basis. The divorce may be filed before the year has passed, but the final judgment will not issue until after the one year period has run. It is possible to live separate and apart while still living in the same home, as long as at least one of the spouses intended for there to be a separation and there was actually some manner of separation. Usually, the court will not question this issue.
2) Adultery; or 3) Cruelty. These last two grounds are only available to the filing spouse. This means that if you are the spouse who committed adultery, you cannot also be the spouse who requests the divorce. These two grounds do not have the one year time limit, but are much more difficult to establish and the court may question them and require evidence regarding them. Using these grounds also make it impossible, in some provinces, to file a joint petition, which simplifies the process.
DIVISION OF PROPERTY
Questions of property and debt division are governed by provincial or territorial law. The laws vary, but generally recognize that property obtained during the marriage is shared and have some mechanism for dividing it. In order to have property and debt divided using LegalZoom.com, you will need to have an agreement regarding the division.