Representation that meets your needs

using a process that’s right for your family.

Quality and professional representation is what you need to get your divorce done.

Whether you want a negotiated settlement or need to go to Court, we are the representation you need on all your separation and divorce issues.

Common separation and divorce issues we can help you with include:

We also help couples draft their Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreements, Wills, Personal Directives and Powers of Attorney, and prepare stepparent adoptions.

We can represent you in which ever resolution process that is best or necessary to reach your resolution.

There are several ways that spouses can resolve their separation issues, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, collaborative law, and/or Court:

  • Negotiation is a discussion between spouses, with or without the help of lawyers, with the goal of reaching an agreement.
  • Mediation is a cooperative, problem-solving process where a neutral mediator, often a lawyer, helps parties to communicate and reach a settlement.
  • Arbitration is a voluntary, private process where spouses choose an acceptable, knowledgeable, independent, and neutral third party expert, like an experienced family lawyer, to act as their Judge and decide their case.
  • Collaborative Law is a specialized process where you and your spouse sign an agreement that you will not go to Court. Instead, you will resolve your issues with the help of a team of professionals, including lawyers, financial experts, and mental health professionals.
  • Court is the only process available if spouses do not agree to resolve their issues privately. Going to Court may involve a short appearance before a Judge on narrow issues and full trials to finally resolve all the issues.

Meet our lawyers

Lonny Balbi lawyer headshot in black and white

Lonny Balbi, K.C.

Lawyer, Mediator + Arbitrator

Lonny is one of Calgary’s foremost, senior family lawyers. He mediates, arbitrates and litigates high-net worth, complex disputes. Lonny has a specific expertise and interest in spousal support.

Ceri Chwieros lawyer headshot in black and white

Ceri Chwieros

Lawyer + Mediator

Best Lawyer: Cheri Chwieros Recoginised: 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

Ceri focuses on collaborative processes to resolve her client’s legal issues, including parenting, support and property. She also drafts Prenuptial and Cohabitation Agreements to protect her client’s financial futures.

Here are the answers to questions we are frequently asked

Q: How do I hire you?

Call us at (403) 269-7300 and ask to speak with our Intake Coordinator, Christine. She will explain our intake process and schedule your Balbi Assessment. At your Assessment, you and the lawyer will discuss details about our representation and what may be right for you.

Q: When do I hire you?

Schedule your Balbi Assessment as soon as possible, so that we can help you assess your needs and give you upfront legal advice. At your Assessment, we will discuss the steps in a resolution process, timing considerations and recommend when it’s best to hire a lawyer, based on your goals and circumstances.

Q: How do I choose a lawyer?

Our Intake Coordinator, Christine, will discuss your matter with you and recommend one of our lawyers. It’s also a good idea to read our lawyer profiles to learn about our lawyer’s practice areas, styles and philosophies.

Q: How long does it take to get a divorce?

The time it will take to resolve your matter depends on many variables, including the issues that have to be resolved, how far apart you and your spouse are on the issues, which resolution process you use, the level of conflict, your and your spouse’s readiness to resolve, Court availability, and the need for expert evidence. The average divorce, without high conflict or complexity, takes 1 – 2 years.

The law requires you to be separated for a year before your Divorce Judgement can be granted by the Court. But resolving your divorce issues and actually getting a divorce (dissolving your legal marriage) are separate things. You don’t have to wait to solve your issues and get on with your life (except remarry). You can resolve your issues at any time and enter into a Separation Agreement. This Agreement is your final settlement. We then submit your divorce package to the Court once the one-year time period has passed for your divorce to be processed and your Divorce Judgement and Divorce Certificate to be granted.

Q: How much does it cost?

The cost of a divorce is dependent on many things – the issues, time, process, level of conflict, expertise, and other requirements to get the matter resolved. Some families are able to reach agreements by negotiation or through mediation. Others need to attend arbitration or go to Court to have the issues decided. Some spouses deal with the issues all at once, while others deal with things separately, or on an interim then final basis. Some couples fight a lot and find it difficult to agree on anything, others have a similar idea of what a settlement should look and have less to disagree about. Sometimes the history of the relationship or dynamic between spouses can drive conflict that drags out a resolution, regardless of the legal issues.

Instead of providing a wide range of possible cost that has no use to you, we provide an estimate of resolution costs at our Balbi Assessment, once we have had an opportunity to hear about your situation and priorities. With the specifics about you, we can give you a more narrow range of what a resolution may cost.

Your family, needs and circumstances are unique. Be careful not to compare someone else’s experience to your own, without knowing how theirs was different and similar.

Q: What do I bring to my Assessment?

Our Intake Coordinator, Christine, will explain to you what information and documents to bring to your Assessment. You can start by reviewing our Assessment Guide.

Q: Do I have to go to Court?

That depends on you and your spouse. You don’t have to step foot in the Courthouse, if you can both decide to use an out-of-Court process to resolve your issues, like negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or Collaborative Law. If you don’t use an alternate process or don’t reach a settlement by agreement, then the only forum available to solve your issues in Court.

Q: There is domestic violence in my relationship. What do I do?

If you or someone in your family are in immediate need of protection from family violence, call 911. Contact the Calgary Police Service if you and your family aren’t at risk of being immediately harmed but need intervention and help,

If you have a lawyer, tell your lawyer about your current or past family violence experience.

Q: Do I tell my spouse I’m hiring a lawyer?

It depends on the conflict and circumstances of your separation or relationship challenges. If you have any doubt about whether telling them would possibly make things worse, then hold off telling them until you have met with us.

Q: Can my spouse and I hire the same lawyer?

No. Family lawyers aren’t allowed to represent both spouses or partners. It’s important that each spouse have their own lawyer to advise and advocate for them.

Non-lawyers are different. Spouses can both hire a neutral, third-party mediator, arbitrator or expert, like a child psychologist or appraiser, to help them to resolve their matter. They also have the option to hire their own experts, if they prefer.

Q: What do I tell my children about our divorce?

It’s critical for the well-being of your children that they are kept out of the divorce conflict. If at all possible, work with your spouse to talk to your children together. Educate yourself on how to best tell your children about the changes in their lives. You may also wish to talk to a parenting expert to get advice on how to support your children through the transition.

Justice Canada provides a helpful summary of what your children need to hear when you tell them about your separation and what your children will be experiencing emotionally. For more great resources, visit our page on How to Keep the Children out of the Middle.

If you have other questions about our representation, please don’t hesitate to call Erin, our Intake Coordinator, who is more than happy to answer your questions at no charge: 403-269-7300, Ext. 101