04/25/2015 03:19 EDT | Updated 07/26/2015 12:59 EDT

Jonathan Denis resigns as justice minister amid 'legal proceedings'

Alberta's Justice Minister has resigned following "legal proceedings" involving his estranged wife.

Jonathan Denis announced his resignation Saturday, saying it stemmed from "a court action involving a personal family matter" which meant it "would not be appropriate" to continue in his cabinet role.

"My wife and I have had difficulties in our marriage over the last several months," he wrote in a release.

"I am very saddened by these recent circumstances. This is a very difficult time for my family and I, and I would ask for respect for our privacy on this matter while it's being resolved."

The statement came minutes after a similar announcement from Premier Jim Prentice, who said he asked for Denis to step aside.

"Given the involvement of the courts, I have asked for and received the resignation of the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General," Prentice wrote.

Prentice refused a request from CBC News to comment further on the matter.

Denis said despite his resignation from cabinet, he would continue to run as the Progressive Conservative candidate for Calgary-Acadia, a seat he has held since 2008. 

Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson has stepped in to take over Denis' cabinet role.