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Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

Canada family law: Child support and unmarried couples

Costs of raising children are escalating and most often it takes two parents to care for them, including financially. Family law rules typically provide that when legally married couples divorce in Canada, the parent who earns the most money and who usually is not the primary caregiver pays child support to the parent with whom the children are living. But what happens when the parents never married?

The federal government and individual provinces and territories make the determination as to who pays child support in the case of unmarried people who aren't raising their child in one household together. Though there may be slight variations on the legalities in each province, one issue remains the same: Parents have to provide for their children financially no matter what the status of their relationship was and is. The best interests of the children come first.

How the British Columbia courts look after family law cases

Different courts deal with various aspects of the law. That is also true for family law cases. Essentially, there are two court bodies in British Columbia that speak to family situations. Those are the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Provincial Court.

The final say for all cases rests with the Supreme Court. However, most cases, like those pertaining to spousal or child support, usually go to Provincial Court, but not always. There are certain instances when issues must be decided by a judge in the federal court such as division of family property. Restraining or intervention orders come from the federal court as well.

The right way to a good divorce in Canada

Calling it quits is a difficult decision for most couples, regardless of the reasons. But there are ways to make divorce go more smoothly in Canada and perhaps be more palatable, as it were. One of those ways is for couples to treat each other with respect in front of children they may have.

The way divorcing parents approach their children will set the tone for the entire divorce process. Children need to know they are, and always will be, loved by each of their parents, and that the divorce is not because of something they did or didn't do. They also have to be reassured that everything is going to be alright.

Getting the most from a divorce settlement in British Columbia

Ending a marriage is never easy, but it can be fair to both parties. Mediation goes a long way to help British Columbia couples going through a divorce to settle things fairly and amicably. In addition to lawyers, financial planners might also be a part of the team to help individuals get the most from their settlements in terms of looking at each person's financial needs during the divorce process.

Experts who work with money on a regular basis would be able to collaborate with a lawyer if the financial aspects of a divorce become a contentious issue. If children are a part of the scenario, their interests will always be at the forefront of any settlement discussions. Getting help in tough and stressful divorce situations can leave each individual feeling empowered rather than defeated. 

Same-sex divorce and property division in British Columbia

Marriage is different in the 21st century and so is divorce. With same-sex marriage legal in Canada, same-sex spouses who are divorcing have similar issues to address. One of those concerns is property division. Laws affecting most marriage and family issues are put in place by individual provinces. In British Columbia same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples do when it comes to family law.

Most issues are determined by the legal status of the couple -- were the partners legally married or in a common-law partnership? Upon divorce, property isn't just divided in half. The simplest way of making that determination is when spouses agree upon who will get what.

British Columbia family law: Registering kids as gender unknown

Canada is generally known as a progressive country. That progression may continue if babies born in Canada need not be registered as either male or female, but as gender unknown. A child born in British Columbia was issued a gender non-specific health card -- the first in the world. Some rules under the family law umbrella continue to evolve.

The parent of this particular infant claims to be non-binary transgender -- non-binary meaning not identifying as either male or female. The parent wants the baby to discover its own gender in its own time. The pronoun, their, is being used singularly when speaking about or talking to the child, rather than he or she. The parent is among eight individuals to bring cases to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal to have their own birth certificates changed.

Family law in British Columbia: Who's the Daddy?

There are times when the issue of paternity becomes important. Usually, DNA tests are requested of a potential father when child support issues arise or a father is seeking parental rights. Paternity issues in British Columbia come under family law.

Even if the man who is being tested turns out not to be the father, he may not be off the hook when it comes to being responsible for the child(ren). There are many instances in British Columbia where the law considers a man to be a father -- DNA is just one of them. If the man was married to the child's mother when the child was born, he is presumed to be the child's father.

B.C. divorce mediation: Who gets the four-legged family member?

Most people think of their pets as part of the family. So, when a British Columbia couple is splitting up, divorce mediation may be necessary to sort out who gets Fido the pooch and/or Fluffy the kitty. But there may be one person favoured by the pet, and when a decision needs to be made regarding an animal, it may be in the animal's best interest to be with the one to whom it is closest.

If the couple has children, that may play a part in the decision. If one parent has sole custody, perhaps the pet should stay with the children since pets provide great comfort for them. It seems there is more of an issue with dogs rather than with cats. For the most part animals dislike change, particularly dogs and ones that are pretty sensitive. For homes without children, perhaps the dog can stay in one home and the other person could visit for dog walks.

Grey divorce in B.C.: Long-time married couples splitting

Some couples that have been married for years -- sometimes decades -- are calling it quits. "Grey" divorce, as it's known, is a stark reality for many British Columbia couples. The reasons for these splits are varied, but among them is simply growing apart once children have left home. Baby boomers -- those aged 55 and older -- are making a dent in divorce statistics in Canada. In fact, Statistics Canada has indicated the main indicators couples cite for these break-ups are falling out of love and having different ideas about retirement plans. 

Divorce is difficult it happens, but it can be particularly devastating for the individuals who have been married for many years. Not only can the end of a marriage be hard emotionally, but it could wreak havoc with the couple's finances. Marital are typically split evenly -- even the profits from any business ventures. Everything is on the table, and this is what often fuels bitterness in many of these divorce situations.

B.C. divorce: The legalities of digital spying on a spouse

The world is becoming more and more technologically advanced. With the advent of every new gadget and website comes the potential for increased curiosity about what a former spouse may be up to after the divorce. With a quick log-in, British Columbia residents might be able to access that information on various social media pages like Facebook. But, what, if any, are the legal ramifications?

If someone's privacy settings are set to public on such social media pages, information on those pages is of public record. However, if someone uses recording and tracking technology to spy on people, that will likely pose a problem. As people become more technologically inclined, curiosity may lead them to hack into personal email accounts. Other devices are available like GPS tracking and spyware which can intercept emails. These are practices that could go against privacy and criminal rules.