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The Alberta government is implementing a new Family Justice Strategy to enhance the family justice system, particularly for individuals handling family law matters. Recognizing the stress and difficulties associated with court proceedings, the initiative seeks to streamline and align family justice services across different courts. The strategy focuses on improving accessibility and support for Albertans, especially those representing themselves in cases like divorces, spousal support agreements, parenting arrangements, or child support orders.

Key Points:

Service Alignment: The Family Justice Strategy aims to standardize services in both the Alberta Court of Justice and the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta. This ensures that Albertans have consistent access to services, regardless of the specific court or legislation governing their case.

Pre-Court Services Expansion: A $5-million investment from Budget 2023 supports the expansion of pre-court services in Edmonton and Calgary. These services include alternative dispute resolution, family court counsellors, and parenting interventions. By offering these resources before filing a claim or attending court, individuals can make informed decisions about settling matters outside of court.

Family Resolution Hub: The government is introducing an online tool called the Family Resolution Hub to provide information to Albertans dealing with family law matters. This platform, accessible across the province from December, will offer guidance on divorce initiation, guardianship applications, and parenting arrangement renegotiations.

Financial Support: The $5-million investment also supports the Family Justice Strategy, contributing to the expansion of pre-court services. This financial backing underscores the government's commitment to making the family justice system more accessible and less stressful for Albertans.

Endorsement from Stakeholders: The Family Justice Strategy has received support from stakeholders, including the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta and the Alberta Family Mediation Society. These organizations commend the approach, emphasizing the benefits of alternative dispute resolution in reducing financial and emotional costs for families.

In conclusion, Alberta's Family Justice Strategy represents a comprehensive effort to improve the family justice system by enhancing access, providing valuable pre-court services, and leveraging technology through the Family Resolution Hub. The goal is to alleviate stress on families and individuals dealing with family law matters during challenging times, ultimately promoting more effective and family-friendly dispute resolution.(ANV/AI)