The strategy aligns services across the Alberta Court of Justice and the Court of King's Bench
The Alberta government has announced a new Family Justice Strategy to alleviate stress for families and children involved in legal matters.
Under the present regime, family justice services vary across different courts, creating disparities in access. Alberta’s newly introduced Family Justice Strategy aligns services across the Alberta Court of Justice and the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta, ensuring that Albertans can access uniform services, regardless of the court or legislation governing their case. The new strategy aims to help those representing themselves in divorces, spousal support agreements, parenting arrangements, or child support orders.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Mickey Amery said, “Alberta’s government is making the family justice system more accessible to ease the stress on Albertans dealing with family law matters during an already difficult time. We are expanding pre-court services so that Albertans can access various services before filing a claim or attending court.”
The strategy is supported by a $5-million investment from Budget 2023 to expand pre-court services in Edmonton and Calgary. These services encompass alternative dispute resolution, family court counsellors, and parenting interventions to help Albertans decide whether to settle a family matter out of court or better understand the process if they choose to go to court. The government emphasized that resolving family matters outside the courts can reduce stress on children and families.
Additionally, Alberta will introduce a Family Resolution Hub online tool to provide information for Albertans dealing with family law matters. The Family Resolution Hub aims to provide Albertans with a new way to explore their options and next steps when initiating a divorce, applying for guardianship or renegotiating a parenting arrangement. The platform will be available to Albertans across the province in December.
“Coordinating efforts to support families makes perfect sense. We applaud approaches in the Family Justice Strategy service delivery model that will help provide linkages to alternative dispute resolution resources and qualified mediation practitioners,” said Lynn King, executive director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta.
Sharon J. Crooks, board chair of the Alberta Family Mediation Society, also commended the strategy for offering parents a chance to navigate co-parenting challenges in a non-adversarial, family-friendly manner.