This is an excellent question in a world where a lot of practitioners have general practice. The law is interpreted by judges daily at different levels of the Court (in Alberta, the Provincial Court, Court of Queen’s Bench, and the Court of Appeal). Their decisions are written down and reported in binders in law libraries (now lawyers have access to computer programs to read them in the comfort of their office). It is important for lawyers to be on top of all of these developments. But we are also human, we see clients, draft documents, go to court, and then we must go to Safeway or take the children to hockey practice… and what about sleep? Oh, that must be done too; however, we only have the number of hours that the day offers us.
What it all means is that if you have a problem in family law see a practitioner in this area as they will be better equipped to serve you. The analogy I refer to when I talk to my clients is from medicine: if you have a heart problem or an eye problem you can see a general practitioner, but you will be best served by a cardiologist and an eye surgeon.
Now turning to the mistakes. I had a client who came to see me for a consultation. She was married for 18 years, did not work as she looked after the children, and her lawyer did not ask for spousal support for her. In Alberta, the Matrimonial Property Act creates exemptions that must be considered in the division of property. So, for example, if you had a house with no mortgage or RRSPs, or savings in your bank account all in your name, you would be able to deduct the value of these assets at the time of the marriage from the presumed 50/50 division with your spouse. Now that you no longer love your spouse why should she or he get something they are by law not entitled to receive?
Dr. Anita Dorczak, is a Lawyer , Mediator and Collaborative Practitioner. She practices alternative processes that let clients resolve divorce and family disputes outside of courtâ€”making the divorce process easier and less confusing. Dr. Dorczak uses her skills to provide reasonable solutions to clients’ problems with the least possible time, cost and stress.