Understanding EPOs in Alberta
In Alberta, Emergency Protection Orders (EPOs) are legal measures designed to protect individuals from family violence. EPOs are serious court orders and are available against family members, including those related by blood, marriage, adoption, adult interdependent relationships, or shared children. They can be filed by a police officer or the individual seeking protection without notifying the other party.
Steps to Take When an EPO is Issued Against You:
1. Consult a Lawyer
It is highly recommended to speak with a lawyer before taking any further action. They can provide guidance on the legal process and your rights. Since this is a time sensitive matter, it is essential to consult a lawyer immediately after being served an EPO. If you cannot afford to retain a lawyer, you may be eligible for a lawyer to be appointed to you through Legal Aid Alberta. Contact them to see if you are eligible.
2. Understand the EPO Details
The EPO will specify what you are prohibited from doing, your court date, and deadlines for filing and serving court forms. It is crucial that you abide by the rules listed within the EPO.
3. Determine Your Response
Family Law lawyers will typically start by ordering your EPO hearing transcript which is essentially the entire court hearing of the applicant who placed the EPO against you. Once you review the transcript, you are entitled to file an Affidavit in Response, either affirming or disputing the claims which the applicant had made during the EPO hearing.
4. File and Serve an Affidavit in Response
Once you swear or affirm your responses listed in the Affidavit in Response through the assistance of your Family Law Lawyer, the next step is to file the Affidavit in Response with the Court of King’s Bench. Then, serve the document on the opposing party/counsel. Your Lawyer can assist you during this time.
5. Court Appearance
Attend the court hearing listed in your Notice of Hearing with all necessary documents. If you are retained by Legal Counsel, they could appear on your behalf.
Legal and Practical Considerations
· Mandatory Review by a King’s Bench Justice: Within nine working days, a King’s Bench Justice will review the EPO, and both parties can present evidence regarding the continuation or removal of the order. For more information regarding general restraining and protection orders, view this Government of Alberta Link.
Misuse of EPOs: Misusing EPOs for non-protective purposes is forbidden and can lead to legal consequences. It is crucial not to misuse the justice system to take advantage of a family member.
EPOs in Emergency Situations: EPOs should be reserved for genuine emergency situations where immediate protection is required.
Seeking Legal Advice:
If you're subject to an EPO and need to understand how to proceed, or if you wish to contest it, seeking legal advice is crucial. One of our Family Law Lawyers can provide the necessary guidance and representation.
This blog post is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. The circumstances of each case are unique. For personalized legal advice, please reach out to Urban Lawyers directly at 780-228-7226. Do not send any confidential information until a client-lawyer relationship has been formally established through a retainer agreement.
Ready for Legal Support?
If you need EPO advice in Edmonton or require any legal advice regarding other family law matters, contact Urban Lawyers at 780-228-7226. If you run into any sort of family law dispute dealing with restraining orders or emergency protection orders, we are always happy to assist you. As your legal advisors, we'll handle the complexities of your case and advocate for your best interests.
Please wait to share any sensitive details of your case until after a formal lawyer-client relationship has been established.