The Rigours of Litigation in Divorce and Separation in Alberta: A Battle of Stress and Resilience

The Rigours of Litigation in DIVORCE AND SEPARATION IN ALBERTA: A Battle of Stress and Resilience

Divorce and separation in Alberta, as in other jurisdictions, can often be a complex and emotionally charged process. This is even more the case when the parties involved resort to litigation. Litigation is a route that many take in hopes of obtaining the most advantageous outcome, often driven by the misguided notion that the court system is designed to enforce fairness. However, the reality can be starkly different. In many instances, the litigation route turns into a protracted battle of emotional resilience and financial stamina, often disregarding what may actually be in the best interests of the parties involved.


Litigation in the realm of divorce and separation in Alberta is where two parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement on their own or through mediation, leading them to go before a court for a judge to make a final decision. The decision may be related to various aspects like property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation rights. The court becomes the ultimate decider, and both parties put their faith in the legal system.

But, as it often unfolds, the litigation process may seem more like a contest of endurance rather than a procedure for delivering fair judgment. Both parties can find themselves caught up in a cycle of court hearings, filings, document reviews, depositions, and various strategic manoeuvres designed to either pressurise the other side into settlement or to win at trial. This gruelling process extends over a lengthy period, with a typical contested divorce case in Alberta taking anywhere from several months to a few years to conclude.

Emotional Resilience in Alberta

Divorce and separation in Alberta are inherently fraught with strong emotions: anger, disappointment, betrayal, and sometimes even a sense of relief. When litigation enters the picture, it amplifies these emotions. Parties can get consumed by their need to ‘win,’ exacerbating stress and potentially clouding their judgment about what’s actually in their best interest.

Parties involved need to continually present themselves in the best light, managing their emotional responses during depositions, hearings, and at trial. They have to withstand personal attacks from the opposing side and sometimes confront unpleasant truths about their marital life. Over time, the courtroom drama and mounting tension can take a severe emotional toll, with many individuals facing anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.


The financial implications of divorce and separation litigation in Alberta are significant. Legal fees accumulate over time as the process drags on. There are court fees, lawyer fees, cost of expert witnesses, appraisals, and more. And there’s no guarantee of success; you could invest a significant amount of money into litigation and still not achieve the desired outcome.

The financial stress of litigation extends beyond the immediate costs of the process. The uncertainty over one’s future financial status, especially when decisions about property division, alimony, or child support are pending, can be extremely daunting. Moreover, for some, the litigation process can cause disruption in their professional lives, potentially affecting their income and exacerbating the financial stress.

Contrary to the notion that ‘more money equals more power’ in litigation, both parties, irrespective of their financial status, can find themselves in a seemingly never-ending cycle of cost-inducing activities. High net-worth individuals might be able to absorb these costs more readily, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they too have to endure this strenuous process.

Alberta court’s Considering Best Interests

Despite the adversarial nature of litigation, the court’s in Alberta primary objective in divorce cases is to ensure that the decisions made are in the best interests of the parties involved, especially when children are involved. However, due to the complexities of litigation and the emotional and financial strain it brings, many individuals might feel that their interests are not being prioritised.

The court’s role is to enforce the law and ensure that rules are followed rather than to enforce ‘fairness’ as perceived by the litigants. It can be a rude awakening for those who enter the litigation arena assuming it to be a guarantee of the ‘fairest’ outcome.


Navigating the legal landscape of divorce and separation in Alberta through litigation can indeed feel like a marathon of stress and resilience, often overshadowing the original objective – obtaining a fair and just resolution. It is essential for parties to fully understand the realities of the litigation process and carefully consider alternatives, such as mediation or collaborative law, which may offer a more balanced and less antagonistic approach to resolution.

In the end, a successful navigation through divorce or separation is not necessarily about who can withstand the most stress, but who can make the most informed and rational decisions in the midst of chaos. Understanding that the litigation process is as much a battle of emotions and finances as it is a legal process, is an essential step towards that goal.

Also, read: Costs of DIVORCE IN ALBERTA: What to Expect

Contested divorces typically require legal representation and may involve negotiation, mediation, or a trial. Consequently, the average cost of a contested divorce in Alberta can range from CAD 10,000 to CAD 70,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the case and the level of conflict between the parties.

The Rigours of Litigation in Divorce and Separation in Alberta A Battle of Stress and Resilience
The Rigours of Litigation in Divorce and Separation in Alberta A Battle of Stress and Resilience