Family and the law

Learn about Alberta's Family Law Act

Family law refers to the legal issues, rights and responsibilities of family members that are covered under Alberta's Family Law Act. This section discusses family law, marriage, separation and divorce in Alberta.

To learn more, contact the Family Law Information Centre office nearest you:


Main Floor, Law Courts Building
1A Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, AB T5J 0R2
Phone: 780-415-0404
Fax: 780-415-0403


604 J.J. Bowlen Building
620 7 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 0Y8
Phone: 403-297-6600
Fax: 403-297-6605

Marriage, separation and divorce

Marriage licences are available from any registry agent in Alberta. A marriage licence:

  • shows that you meet the requirements to get married in Alberta
  • gives you the legal right to get married any time within three months from the date the licence was issued

A divorce granted by a court legally ends a marriage. Sometimes the former husband and wife continue to have legal and financial responsibilities to each other. For example, one may be required to pay support (money) to the other.

Children and divorce

As parents, you must continue to share legal and financial responsibility for your children, even if you separate or get divorced. A lawyer can help you work out parenting arrangements, including who will be responsible for making important decisions about the children and where they will live.

If you cannot agree on how to share these responsibilities, the matter may be settled in court. For example, if parents cannot agree on who will have custody of the children, divorce law gives judges some basic principles to consider when making a decision. The best interests of the children come first, and divorce can be difficult for a child.

Counselling can help a couple stay together by improving their relationship or, if necessary, end the relationship as peacefully as possible. Immigrant-serving agencies, community health nurses and family doctors can refer you to counselling agencies.