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Bringing a Court Application During Covid-19

Many of you are probably wondering whether you can go to court during the pandemic.  Perhaps you’re looking for interim child or spousal support, or exclusive possession of your home.  Maybe you’re looking for interim relief from a support obligation you can no longer meet due to pandemic-related income loss.  Until recently the Provincial Court and Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta were closed to all but emergency and urgent applications.  On May 8, 2020, the Court of Queen’s announced that it would hear simple “desk applications” by affidavit and written submissions.  These include the following:

  1. Consent to travel
  2. Dispense with consent to passport application
  3. Table amount of child support where income is Line 150.
  4. Determination of a section 7 expense.
  5. Parenting time (holidays or special occasions)
    • Christmas
    • Other religious holidays
    • Spring/fall break
    • Birthdays
    • Mother’s Day / Father’s Day
    • Summer
    • Long weekend
  6. Simple Parenting Variation Application (e.g. pick up location, pick up or drop off time, change in supervisor, and other simple changes to parenting arrangement)
  7. Termination of child support (for adult children)
  8. Stay of enforcement of child/spousal support, provided that the Applicant has first attempted to make payment arrangements with the Director of Maintenance Enforcement and has been unsuccessful
  9. Exclusive possession of matrimonial/family home
  10. Where the sale of the matrimonial home has been ordered, changes to terms of listing
  11. Access to educational, medical, dental records
  12. Registration in extracurricular activities
  13. Change of name
  14. Adjournment request
  15. Filing time extensions / changes
  16. Orders for production
  17. Support variation if simple
  18. Notice to Disclose applications

More information on the Simple Desk Application process can be found here at the Alberta Courts Website. Information on the Notice to Disclose process can be found here.

The Court is also open to longer hearings conducted by way of written submissions where both parties agree, and both are represented by counsel.  More information on these longer hearings is available here.

UPDATE JUNE 2020: The Court of Queen’s Bench’s procedures are evolving.  The Court now requires all non-emergency contested matters be triaged in Family Docket Court by way of video conferencing.  You can learn more here. The simple desk application is one of the directions the court may direct parties in docket court.

Alternatives exists for resolution at Moe Hannah outside of court processes such as mediation, mediation/arbitration, and collaborative law.  We believe that family disputes should be settled as amicably and cooperatively as possible.  However, we know that this is not always possible.  We are prepared to bring your matter to court if necessary and have the experience to do so effectively.  If you need assistance with any of the above matters, or anything else in the longer term, please reach out and we’d be happy to help.