Notice to the Profession: New Mandatory Requirements for Family Court

The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta has announced four mandatory pre-court requirements for Family Court in Judicial Centers in Calgary and Edmonton, commencing December 18, 2023. The requirements, in support of the Alberta Justice Family Justice Strategy, include:

  1. Completion of the online Parenting After Separation Course (“PAS”);
  2. Meeting with a Family Court Counsellor (“FCC”) (for self-represented parties with dependent children);
  3. Providing Financial Disclosure; and
  4. Participation in an Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) process.

The mandatory pre-court requirements do not apply to the following applications:

  1. Applications for Protection Orders;
  2. Applications that have been approved to proceed on an urgent basis;
  3. The filing of Statements of Claim/Joint Statements of Claim for Divorce;
  4. Requests for Divorce (without oral evidence);
  5. Joint Requests for Divorce (without oral evidence);
  6. The filing of Statements of Claim for Matrimonial Property/Family Property Division;
  7. The filing of Statements of Claim for Unjust Enrichment;
  8. Notices to Disclose – Desk Applications;
  9. Applications for Service Orders;
  10. Consent Orders;
  11. Appeals from the Alberta Court of Justice;
  12. Any interjurisdictional Application where the Applicant or Respondent resides outside the Province of Alberta.

Subject to these exceptions and unless a waiver or deferral has been granted by the Court, the mandatory requirements must be completed before a party can file any document outlining intent to bring the matter before the Court. A deferral or waiver may be issued by a Justice in Family Docket Court in the following circumstances:

  1. There is a risk of severe economic harm to a party or child(ren);
  2. The Respondent refuses to comply with/participate in the mandatory processes or they cannot be located, or there is an existing Order prohibiting contact between the Applicant and the Respondent;
  3. Any circumstance determined by the Justice to be sufficient to justify a waiver or deferral for one or more of the mandatory requirements.

Once the mandatory requirements have been complete, the matter can proceed to Family Docket Court by attaching the following documents and serving them on the other party:

  1. PAS Certificate;
  2. Participation in ADR Form;
  3. Financial Disclosure Statement to a Notice to Attendd Family Docket Court.

Though the mandatory requirements will only apply to Judicial Centers in Edmonton and Calgary, it is anticipated that they will expand throughout the province. For more information on these requirements, read the official Notice to the Profession and Public.

 

 

 

 

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