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Author Archives: Wendy Phillips-Berard

While going to court may resolve the outcome of a legal issue, it is often not the way to resolve family conflict.

While sometimes necessary and unavoidable, going to court often creates fear around possible outcomes and polarizes family members, particularly when a relationship with children will be affected. In the lead up to going to court, negative feelings and perceptions can escalate and children witness that animosity and fear. Rather than heading down that road, choose […]

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If one of our appliances is listed in the real estate purchase contract as being sold with our home, can we replace that appliance with a different one before closing?

The answer is no. There is an expectation that the buyer will receive the same appliance as was in the home when the offer was made, unless otherwise specified in the real estate purchase contract. The contract also provides that the appliance will be in good working order on the day of closing. If problems […]

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How is calculating spousal support different than calculating child support?

Unlike the tables for child support, which are law pursuant to the Divorce Act, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines have never been enacted and are an informational tool only. The danger in relying on just these tables is that only some crucial considerations are addressed. The first question – what factors affect entitlement to support […]

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Why would I pay a lawyer to assist me in drafting my Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive?

There are many resources available to assist people in creating their own documents.  However, it is important to ensure that you are thorough and that all arrangements, including those in your will and those between partners or spouses, all work together. A lawyer is like any other expert, and he or she can offer some […]

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Do I need a travel consent letter to travel with my children?

If you plan to travel outside of Canada with your children and without the other parent, then we strongly recommend having the other parent sign a travel consent letter well in advance of your travel date. This recommendation applies whether you are divorced or married and anytime when your children are travelling with one one […]

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Divorced? Have you changed your will?

Recent changes to estate legislation in Alberta now cause a gift in a will to a former spouse to be revoked, unless a contrary intention can be shown. However, this new rule only applies to situations where the divorce was granted after the changes were proclaimed, which happened in February 2012. If you were divorced […]

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Ask an Expert: What happens to my online accounts upon my death?

The new Estate Administration Act requires an executor, also called a personal representative, to manage online accounts and to identify and manage digital assets. When creating an estate plan, care should be given to creating a list of all online accounts (like eBay or PayPal) and virtual property (communications like Gmail or MSN; media like […]

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Ask an Expert: What really are the differences between using the collaborative process rather than going to court?

There are a lot of reasons why so many people are choosing to resolve matters arising on separation outside of the court system. Some of the big ones include: 1. Confidentiality. Many personal and financial details can otherwise become part of the filed documents. 2. Creativity. Working together offers many more options regarding how to […]

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Ask an Expert: I’m getting divorced. Can I move to another province?

There are no restrictions on moving to another province. However, if you have not finalized matters and if you expect that you will need to resolve matters in court rather than through negotiation, you need to consider the residency requirements in the Divorce Act. To start a divorce action, you or your ex-spouse need to […]

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Ask an Expert: I’ve been separated for years. Why do I need my ex-spouse’s consent to sell the house I bought after our separation?

Dower rights give a non-owning spouse the right to live in the house following the owner’s death. Alberta law requires any landowner who is selling land in his or her own name to swear an affidavit setting out that: (a) he or she is not married; (b) an ex-spouse has released his or her dower […]

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