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Can I stay in Canada to deal with my family law issues, even if my status has expired?
No. Being in the middle of family law issues does not mean that you can stay in Canada, or that your status will automatically be renewed. You must always make sure that you have legal status to be in Canada.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: October 2015
My sister, brother, and I were adopted by different families. How do I find out what happened to them?
If you were adopted as a child in Alberta and are now over 18 years old, the Post-Adoption Registry may be able to help you connect with your biological parents or siblings. You can submit a Voluntary Contact application with the Post-Adoption Registry.
If members of your biological family have also asked for voluntary contact, the Registry can help connect you.
If your siblings have not registered for voluntary contact, it may be more complicated to find out about them. The Post-Adoption Registry may be able to advise you about things you can do.Be Aware
Each province keeps its own adoption records. If the adoptions happened in another province, you will have to contact the Post-Adoption Registry from that province to learn about their procedures.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: November 2016
I had conditional permanent resident status when my sponsor died. Can I be deported?
No. As of April 18, 2017, this rule no longer applies to sponsored immigrants to Canada.
Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: May 2017
- Anyone who has been considered a “conditional permanent resident” is no longer subject to the conditions.
- If you were being investigated for not following this rule after separating from your sponsor, the investigation will stop.
What does “capacity” mean?
The term “capacity” refers to the ability (or inability) to make decisions.
In general, there are two parts to mental capacity:
- The ability to understand the nature of a decision. This includes understanding all of the information that is relevant to a particular decision.
- The ability to understand the consequences of making a decision. That is, a person with capacity would understand what could happen as a result of making a certain decision.
Legally, mental capacity is a clear concept: at any given moment, you either have capacity, or you do not. However, in practice, capacity can change from moment to moment. For example:
- a person who is drunk or high may not have capacity, even if he or she otherwise would; and
- a person can flip back and forth between having capacity and not having capacity, due to things such as the effect of medications (or forgetting to take them), or changing blood sugar levels.
In Alberta, the law assumes everyone 18 or older has mental capacity, unless it is shown otherwise (usually by a doctor’s opinion or a judge’s decision).Related Information Pages:
Last Reviewed: March 2016
- Caring for and Decision-Making for a Family Member
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Coming to an Agreement on Your Own
- Dealing with a Death in the Family
- Planning for Death: Wills, Estates, and Funeral Arrangements
- Planning for Illness: Decision-making options, Personal Directives, and Powers of Attorney
- Pre-nuptial & Marriage Agreements
- Relationship Breakdown if You Had a Domestic Contract (Cohabitation, Pre-nuptial, or Marriage Agreement)
The daycare staff at my workplace are willing to bring my baby up to my office when he is ready to be breastfed. Can my boss refuse to allow that?
No. Your employer cannot refuse to let you breastfeed in public or in the workplace, and must accommodate breastfeeding. For example, by allowing you to time your breaks so you can breastfeed your child.
This protection against discrimination comes from both the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: February 2017
Can I go to court about family issues like child support and spousal support if I don't have legal status?
If you live in Alberta, you have all of the same family law rights as any other resident of Alberta, even if you do not have legal status. This means that you can go to court to apply for care and control of your children, child support, partner support, and, if you were married, a share of your family property. You do not have to prove status to start a family law application in court.
However, not having status can still cause problems: while you are attempting to solve your family law issues, if you come to the attention of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials, you could be ordered to leave Canada—even if your family law issues are not yet resolved (or even if you have care and control of your children).
As a result, you may wish to look into your options for getting legal status. Consider talking to an immigration lawyer or your local community legal clinic for help.Related Information Pages:
Last Reviewed: October 2015
- Child Support under the Divorce Act (married parents)
- Child Support under the Family Law Act (non-married & married parents)
- Family Breakdown & the Immigration Process
- Partner Support under the Family Law Act (non-married & married partners)
- Property Division for Married Spouses
- Property Division for Unmarried Couples
- Spousal Support under the Divorce Act (married spouses)
- Understanding the Court System & Processes
Can I marry someone who is still in the process of getting divorced?
No. You must wait until the divorce is finalized. This means that your partner must receive a “Divorce Certificate.” A Divorce Certificate is not the same thing as a “Divorce Judgment.”
- A Divorce Judgment is the order given by the judge that says you can divorce. The parties have 30 days to appeal that order if they wish to do so.
- A Divorce Certificate is the document that says the divorce was completed. You can only apply for it once the 30-day appeal period has passed.
To get a marriage licence, a person who has been married before must provide their Divorce Certificate as proof of the divorce.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: August 2016
Do I need my parents’ consent to get married?
Sometimes. The rules in Alberta are:
- If you are 18 years or older, you do not need permission from your parents or guardians to get married.
- If you are between 16 and 18 years old, you must get permission from your parents or guardians to get married.
- If you are under 16 years old, no one can consent to your marriage. You are not allowed to get married.
Recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada raised the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16 years old. The Alberta Marriage Act still says that under very specific circumstances, females under 16 can get married. However, the Criminal Code makes it clear that anyone who helps with, participates in, or celebrates the marriage of a person who is under 16 years old can be charged with a crime. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.Last Reviewed: August 2016
If I am responding to an application, can I choose which court I go to?
Not usually. If the other person started the application with one court, you usually must continue with that court. However, if your response also asks for something that is not in the jurisdiction of the first court, you will need to apply to the other court. For example, the Provincial Court cannot deal with property issues, so you would need to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench to deal with property division.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: October 2016
I was adopted. How can I find out information about my original birth records and about my birth parents?
If you were adopted as a child in Alberta and are now over 18 years old, you can file a Request for Release of Adoption Information with the Post-Adoption Registry.
You may be able to get identifying information about your biological parent (including their name, age, date of birth, and place of birth) if:
- you were adopted before January 1, 2005, and your birth parent did not place a Disclosure Veto on the file; or
- you were adopted after January 1, 2005.
No matter when you were adopted, you can get some non-identifying information from the adoption record.Be Aware
Each province keeps its own adoption records. If you were adopted in another province, you will have to contact the Post-Adoption Registry from that province to learn about their procedures.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: November 2016
I live on-reserve with my spouse/partner. Can I get an order for exclusive possession of our family home?
The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (FHRMIRA) was passed several years ago. Under this law, a married or common-law partner who is living on-reserve will be able to apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) if there is family violence, and if there is a need for immediate protection.
In addition, in less urgent situations, and even where there was no domestic violence, a married or common-law partner who is living on-reserve will be able to apply for an Exclusive Occupation Order (EOO). This is for situations when the relationship breaks down, and the parties can’t resolve the issue of which partner will stay in the home.
However, before that can happen, judges to hear the applications must be appointed. This has not yet happened.
As a result, in Alberta it is currently not possible to apply for Emergency Protection Orders or Exclusive Occupation Orders under this law.
For the most recent information about the status of this new law, contact Resolution and Court Administration Services.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: June 2017
Do I have to be a Canadian citizen to get married in Alberta?
No. To get married in Alberta, you just need to get a valid marriage licence. This is a document that shows that a couple has met all the requirements to get married in Alberta.Be Aware
If one or both of the people getting married are not fluent in English, an interpreter is required. This is to make sure that each person understands the information that they are getting. If one of the people getting married is fluent in English but the other is not, an interpreter is still required. In other words, the people getting married cannot translate or interpret the information for each other. Finding an interpreter is the couple’s responsibility.
Last Reviewed: August 2016
Do I have to speak to a lawyer before using assisted reproduction?
There is no legal requirement that you speak to a lawyer before using assisted reproduction. However, assisted reproduction can be very complicated. There can be very big consequences if something goes wrong.
If you are using a clinic for assisted reproduction, they may make you aware of some of the legal requirements. Some clinics may even require you to speak with a lawyer before they will begin a procedure. A clinic may also require that a donor or a surrogate get legal advice before they will begin a procedure.Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: March 2017
Who pays for things like the house repairs, insurance, mortgage, and taxes on the matrimonial home after separation?
That will depend on the facts of each situation. The spouses can come to agreement about this. If the spouses cannot agree, then the issue can be decided by a court (often as part of an order for spousal support).Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: October 2015
What’s the difference between legal information and legal advice?
Legal information is general statements about the law that do not apply to any specific person’s situation. Legal information helps people understand the law, the nature of their legal issues, and how to solve legal problems (both in court and out of court). Legal information is available to the public on websites, in print, and in person, and it is different from legal advice.
Legal advice is guidance that is provided by lawyers (or law students supervised by lawyers) after learning about a person’s legal issues. The lawyer or law student uses his or her legal knowledge and expertise to come up with the “best option(s)” for a particular client, based on what the client hopes to achieve. Legal advice tells people how the law applies to their specific situations, or what they should do about their legal problem (including what exactly to write on court forms and what to say in court).
In other words, legal information tells you “the options that are available,” while legal advice generally tells you “this is the best option for you.”Related Information Pages:Last Reviewed: October 2015