Grounds for Divorce in Alberta 1If you are considering divorce or currently going through a separation, it is important that you understand the grounds for divorce that apply here in Alberta as well as across Canada. Unfortunately, many couples fail to properly understand this important concept, which can impact their separation and only stands to add more stress and tension to the process. Whether you are considering a mediated divorce or elect to go through the court system, read on to ensure you understand the grounds for divorce in Alberta and Canada.

What is considered grounds for divorce?

The Divorce Act is a Canada wide statute that deals with custody, access, child support and spousal support. The only ground for divorce in Canada is the breakdown of the marriage. You can establish that ground in three ways:

  1. A one year separation. You can resolve all outstanding issues between you in advance of your one year separation but the Court will not process your divorce until you have been separated for a year.
  2. Adultery. This can be established through one party swearing a Statement of Adultery, or admitting to the adultery under oath. Failing an admission in this regard, adultery can only be proven at trial, based on a balance of probabilities.
  3. Mental or physical cruelty. As with Adultery, this can be established through one party swearing a Statement of Cruelty, or admitting to the cruelty under oath. Failing an admission in this regard, cruelty can only be proven at trial, based on a balance of probabilities.

Canada is a system of no-fault divorce. As such, how you prove the breakdown of the marriage has absolutely no bearing on your rights or obligations under the Divorce Act or the Matrimonial Property Act.

There is a residency requirement in the Divorce Act such that you or your spouse must have been ordinarily resident in Alberta for at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the Statement of Claim for Divorce. To commence a divorce action we must file a Statement of Claim for Divorce. You can also make a claim for a distribution of matrimonial property in the same Statement of Claim.

What are my options for divorce?

Every marriage is unique and individual. Naturally then, so is every divorce. There are several ways that your divorce can be processed or executed, including the "DIY" divorce, collaborative divorce, litigated divorce or through mediation. Mediation is often ideal for couples who are in a more amicable position, encouraging open communication and clear-headedness. Read more about meditation here and connect with our office to book an initial consultation to learn more about mediation and if it may be a fit for your divorce.  

When Can Divorce Mediation/Arbitration Help? 2When to Look at Divorce Mediation/Arbitration

A mediated divorce presents a strong and valid option for couples who want to maintain greater control over their separation process and decisions, and work together to overcome much of the anger and resentment that comes with divorce. However, for some couples, mediation alone is not possible. There can be too much emotion in the way. For such couples, a combination of arbitration and mediation can be a suitable alternate approach. Here is a look at how and when divorce mediation/arbitration can help you get through your separation.

The Mediation Process

The first step in any divorce that wishes to avoid court adjudication should be mediation. The idea behind a mediated divorce is to help the couple get through their anger and conflict, and work out their differences as a team. It can not only allow you to make the best decisions for your family, but can help overcome bitterness and resentment and sometimes salvage a degree of respect between the partners.

Sometimes, however, the anger and blame are just too great, and you need something more formal to work out your differences. In such cases, arbitration may be the next suitable step.


What is Divorce Mediation/Arbitration?

Arbitration is somewhat more adversarial than mediation, but still avoids the kind of bitter battles that often erupt through a court-adjudicated divorce. It is less formal than a court divorce and is conducted in a conference room using a neutral third-party arbitrator.

Decisions issued by the arbitrator are legally binding but can be reviewed and revised over time. This is especially true in cases of child support and child custody. As parents’ situations and circumstances change, the need for shared custody and support may also change.

Advantages of Arbitration

One advantage to arbitrated divorce is that it maintains an informal sense about it, often leading to couples to feel they got a better, more fair result. This means that even though the process is more adversarial than mediation, couples are more likely to accept and abide by the terms delivered than many are through court-adjudicated divorces.

In addition, the arbitration process is much faster than a court divorce, and maintains the couple’s privacy. A court divorce is a matter of public record and all kinds of "dirty laundry" and secrets can be aired. This is not a concern with arbitration, where your private details remains your own. Arbitration can also save money, often being less expensive than a court case, and allows you to take exactly the time you need to resolve your differences to your satisfaction.

Calgary Divorce Mediation

If you are facing divorce and looking for a means by which you can resolve your split without the interference of the courts, a professional divorce mediator and arbitrator can make all the difference in the world. At Jones Divorce Mediation Inc., we have decades of combined experience and expertise in the field of family dispute resolution. For more information, answers to any questions you might have, or to schedule a complimentary consultation, connect with our team today.

Limited Arbitration in Divorce 3What is Limited Arbitration?

One of the more interesting facets of divorce law is that many couples facing this difficult situation do not realize how many options they have. For the majority of divorcing partners, the traditional method of going before the courts, battling it out in a bitter fight and accepting the final decision is not the best way to go. For many, divorce mediation allows them to get past their feelings of anger and resentment and keep control over their own decisions. For others, there are too many negative feelings, but arbitration can still help. And for others, a combination of mediated and arbitrated divorce is the key. Here is a brief overview of limited arbitration options that can be helpful in resolving a mediated divorce.

Divorce Mediation

In a mediated divorce, rather than battling things out in a courtroom, couples come together with a neutral third party trained in divorce law and specializing in this sort of procedure. This third party, the mediator, has the job of helping to guide the couple through making the right decisions for both them and their families. The process saves money, preserves confidentiality, and allows the couple to not only maintain control over the situation, but often to learn to work together as a team once again, while salvaging a friendship or partnership from the ashes of a dissolved romance. 


For couples who have too much conflict so that mediation is not a viable option, arbitration may still be a valid alternative means of divorce. Arbitration falls somewhere between mediation and adjudicated (court) divorces. The third party in this case is a neutral arbitrator who hears the partner’s arguments and conflicts, and makes a legally binding decision for them on various issues from child custody to division of assets. This method traditionally costs less than the courts and preserves confidentiality and privacy while putting the family through less stress than a bitter court battle.

Limited Arbitration – When You Hit a Wall

A third option that many couples do not realize exists is that of limited arbitration or what is sometimes known as "mediation-arbitration". Sometimes, when couples undergo a mediated divorce they hit a wall in their discussions. There seems to be no middle ground on one or more issues, and they can’t get past the anger involved with these specific problems.

When this happens it is possible to have specific issues in the divorce resolved by arbitration, while the rest of the process continues in a mediated fashion. For example, let’s say that a couple has no problems with the division of assets, but custody is a major sticking point. Dad wants full custody while Mom wants shared custody, and the two will not budge. In this case, they can settle their asset divisions through mediation, and bring in an arbitrator to settle the custody issue. 

Your divorce need not be all or nothing. Sometimes using a combination of mediation and arbitration can be a valuable tool in maintaining your partnership while still arriving at a fair and equitable means of dissolving your legal and romantic union. To further discuss your options for divorce and what might best suit your family, contact our team to coordinate a complimentary consultation at or by phone at (587) 393-8070.  

Falling in Love Again After Divorce (Part 1) 4It's a new year and, for many, time for a fresh start. However, the painful experience of divorce can leave you building high walls to guard yourself against future relationships. Happiness, trust and longing may not be the words you now associate with relationship experiences; falling in love again after divorce may seem unlikely, scary or even impossible.

The majority of people dream of finding a lifelong partner to enjoy and share life’s experiences. As a divorced individual, you deserve to fall in love again. Here are a few tips to start your journey toward finding love in 2017.

You can read Part 2 of this article here, with 3 more tips on how to look for love after divorce.

  1. A Time to Heal 

Losing a person who was once a big part of your life initiates a grieving process that takes time to complete. It does not matter if you wanted the divorce or not. You are left with pieces of your life that need to be gathered and rebuilt.

Taking time to heal after a divorce before you decide to start dating again is critical. Falling in love and building a new, healthy relationship will be nearly impossible if you are still in a broken state. Take adequate time after a divorce to just be you, cater to yourself, reflect, enjoy life and heal as a single person.

  1. Release Your Negative Feelings

Divorce breeds negative emotions. Anger, hurt and bitterness create heavy baggage that prevents the blooming of a fresh, new love. Hiding your feelings does not give way for a new relationship to enter. You must fully let go of your negativity before you begin to successfully date again.

It is normal to be nervous and skeptical of finding a new love, but harboring negative emotions creates the base for being a negative person. You will want to present a strong, positive individual who has made it through a painful event, overcome the past and is ready to date once again.Let yourself shine as you begin your search for a new love after divorce mediation. You deserve the fun and happiness the experience can bring. For more tips for healing and beginning again after going through a divorce, visit our blog.

Are you going through a separation or a divorce? Are you interested in learning your options and how divorce mediation or arbitration might be helpful to you? Connect with our team to set up a complimentary consultation today.

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