Family Law / Divorce Library

Our library contains very general information about various areas of the law. It is written by lawyers who are listed in our directory and provide legal coaching or limited scope legal services.

We're continuously adding to this Library, parts of it may be incomplete.

You're Viewing:

Family Court:


A divorce can be obtained by following these steps:

  1. Filing a Statement of Claim
  2. Serving the Claim, and filing an Affidavit of Service
  3. Addressing the Defendant's Response
  4. Filing the Desk Divorce Package
  5. Obtaining the Divorce Certificate


1. Filing a Statement of Claim

A divorce is a court order. The Statement of Claim starts off the divorce action in the court.

There are a variety of Statements of Claim. You'll need to select the one which corresponds to your circumstances.

  • A "Statement of Claim for Divorce" will not address property division.
  • A "Statement of Claim for Division of Family Property" is for unmarried Adult Interdependent Partners who are also seeking to divide their property.
  • Married spouses who want to divide property will want to file a "Statement of Claim for Divorce and Division of Family Property".
  • If separation occurred before 2020, married spouses will elect the version which instead states "Matrimonial Property", as their separation will be governed by old legislation.
  • There is no standard form for those who separated before 2020 and were unmarried. They may need to contact a lawyer for help drafting a civil Statement of Claim.
  • A Joint Divorce can also be obtained, however this requires unanimous agreement of the terms of divorce and a high degree of cooperation between spouses, without much corresponding advantage.

The various Statement of Claim forms can be located at

2. Serving the Claim, and filing an Affidavit of Service

An adult of sound mind other than yourself will need to serve the filed Statement of Claim on your former spouse.

An Affidavit of Service will then be sworn by the person who served the Claim. They'll swear it in front of a Commissioner for Oaths, which can be found at most law offices, courts, real estate agencies, banks, and municipal offices. An Affidavit of Service can be found at the following link, but may need to be modified depending on the type of document served:

If it's not feasible to serve someone in person, and they're not responding to you, you may need to apply for an Order for Substitutional Service from an Applications Judge. When you apply, you'll need to swear that you can't locate your former spouse, and why you think another method of service is likely to bring the documents to their attention.

Serving someone outside of Canada may require an Order for Service Ex Juris from an Applications Judge.

3. The Defendant's Response

The person who files the Claim is called the Plaintiff, and the person who is being served is the Defendant.

The Defendant will typically have 20 days to respond, or 1 month if they are served in another province, or 2 months if they are served outside of Canada.

A Defendant who disputes what is being sought by the Plaintiff can file a Statement of Defence, and may file a Counterclaim if they want additional issues to be addressed.

A Defendant who agrees with everything sought by the Plaintiff but still wants to see what the Plaintiff files in Court would file a Demand for Notice.

If the Defendant fails to defend, the Plaintiff can file a Noting in Default, and can then proceed to obtain a divorce based on the terms in their Claim without having to obtain their consent. However if the Defendant's financial disclosure is required, applications may still be brought against them (see Exchanging Financial Documentation).

When a Defendant misses their deadline and is noted in default, if they act quickly, they may be able to obtain an order setting aside their noting in default.

Typically the divorce would then be obtained as part of the resolution of the entire matter or at Trial, however Courts have the discretion to order that the divorce be severed from other issues so that it can be obtained, for example if a subsequent marriage is scheduled. Before granting severance, the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable child support arrangements in place.

4. Filing the Desk Divorce Package

When the matter is resolved, the Defendant is noted in default, or the court orders that the divorce is severed, a Desk Divorce package can then be submitted. A desk divorce is essentially a mail-in court application.

The Desk Divorce package typically consists of the following forms:

  1. Request for Divorce
  2. Affidavit of Applicant with an original Marriage Certificate attached (can be obtained from a provincial Registry if you were married in Alberta)
  3. Draft Divorce Judgment (this is the court order which divorces you, but also sets out parenting and support terms)
  4. If there are children of the marriage (dependent children), child support calculations, and your Parenting After Separation Certificate (if there are children under 16 years old).
  5. A copy of the filed Statement of Claim.
  6. The filed Affidavit of Service.
  7. The desk divorce Checklist:

Divorce forms and instructions can be located here:

Some organizations, such as Student Legal Services, host a "Do your own Divorce Clinic".

5. Obtaining the Divorce Certificate

Once the Court grants your divorce, by a judge signing the Divorce Judgment, it will be filed. Once the 30-day appeal period has expired, you can then order a Divorce Certificate from the Court Clerks. This is the document which permits you to remarry.

Want to receive new and updated Library content by email?

You're Viewing:

Family Court:


Content by Ken Proudman of BARR LLP (Edmonton)

Last complete review of all content on this page on November 11, 2022

DISCLAIMER: The content in this Library is provided by generous volunteer lawyers. It is not legal advice, and does not represent the views of the Alberta Legal Coaches and Limited Services Society. The listed authors have only added paragraphs, and have not reviewed the entire document, nor any subsequent edits. You should not rely entirely on this material, we strongly recommend that you consult a lawyer. By using this website in any way, you agree to be bound by our Terms of Use.

© 2021 to 2024 Alberta Legal Coaches and Limited Services Society.

DISCLAIMER: The information herein is not legal, tax, or accounting advice or opinions. This website contains content and files submitted by third parties, to which you download or view at your own risk. The Alberta Legal Coaches and Limited Services Society is merely a directory, it is not responsible for the actions or omissions of the lawyers listed in its directory. By using this website, you agree to release the Alberta Legal Coaches and Limited Services Society, its agents, employees, and directors from all present and future claims and liability, including liability arising from any negligence.

View full Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy