The lawyers at South Coast Law Group offer advice about legal rights and obligations upon the breakdown of family relationships.
Our Family Law team provides counsel with respect to: Divorce, Custody, Guardianship, Parenting time, Mobility, Child Support, Spousal Support, Property Division, Separation Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements.
Our lawyers have experience at the Provincial, Supreme and Appellate Court levels.
We hope some of the following information will help you better understand your situation. Call or email today to speak with a lawyer, or to set up an appointment to discuss your case.
FAQs related to Family Law:
- 1. My wife says that if I don't take her offer (to settle our case) I'll have to pay her lawyer. Is that true?
- 2. Since seperation, my spouse has lodged a CPL against our house, what's that?
- 3. My husband has left the house, and insists that I sell it. Is that necessary?
- 4. My spouse and I have settled everything. All we want is a divorce. Do we have to go to Court? What will it cost?
- 5. My wife and I agree on terms of separation. What's a separation agreement cost?
What about Family Debt?
Previously, the BC courts only had jurisdiction to offset family debts against family assets. Now, the legislation is specific and defines family debts and provides guidance as to how they should be dealt with.
Section 86 says:
Family debt includes all financial obligations incurred by a spouse
(a) during the period beginning when the relationship between the spouses begins and ending when the spouses separate, and
(b) after the date of separation, if incurred for the purpose of maintaining family property
If the equal division of family debt is significantly unfair, there is a provision under s. 95 of the FLA providing the Court limited jurisdiction to vary the division.
To learn how the changes will affect you and your family specifically, contact our office for a consultation.
Additional Things to Consider:
Guardianship of Children
The coming into force of the new Family Law Act (FLA) in BC on March 18, 2013, signals a significant change in the approach to dealing with parenting the children of separated parents.
Historically, parents have battled fiercely over the words custody and guardianship. Should it be sole? Should it be joint? What advantage does one title give one parent over the other?
The new law completely changes the focus to the child. The new Family Law Act removes the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration and makes it the ONLY consideration. Parents have responsibilities to their children and the right to parent them, rather than custody of them and access to them.
Under the FLA, parents don’t have joint guardianship, they simply are guardians. Guardians must exercise their parental responsibilities solely in accordance with the best interest of their children. Parental responsibilities are defined in s. 41 of the FLA:
- (a) making day-to-day decisions affecting the child and having day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child;
- (b) making decisions respecting where the child will reside;
- (c) making decisions respecting with whom the child will live and associate;
- (d) making decisions respecting the child’s education and participation in extracurricular activities, including the nature, extent and location;
- (e) making decisions respecting the child’s cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including, if the child is an aboriginal child, the child’s aboriginal identity;
- (f) subject to section 17 of the Infants Act, giving, refusing or withdrawing consent to medical, dental and other health-related treatments for the child;
- (g) applying for a passport, licence, permit, benefit, privilege or other thing for the child;
- (h) giving, refusing or withdrawing consent for the child, if consent is required;
- (i) receiving and responding to any notice that a parent or guardian is entitled or required by law to receive;
- (j) requesting and receiving from third parties health, education or other information respecting the child;
- (k) subject to any applicable provincial legislation,
- starting, defending, compromising or settling any proceeding relating to the child, and
- identifying, advancing and protecting the child’s legal and financial interests;
- (l) exercising any other responsibilities reasonably necessary to nurture the child’s development.
This list is not exhaustive but is meant to provide guidance to parents and decision-makers when apportioning responsibilities among parents. These responsibilities can be shared between both parents or apportioned between them only in accordance with the best interests of the child or children.
Under the FLA, only guardians are entitled to parenting time. Non-guardians are entitled to “contact” with children.
Guardians are free to make their own arrangements and agreements regarding allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, so long as the arrangements are consistent with the best interests of the child. If they are unable to do so on their own, the FLA provides for many Family Dispute Resolution Professionals to assist parties. These include family justice counsellors, parenting coordinators, family law lawyers, mediators, arbitrators, and the courts, if other dispute resolutions options are unworkable under the circumstances.
To learn how the changes will affect you and your family specifically or for help in making arrangements for your children, contact our office for a consultation.