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Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

B.C. woman loses child support funds based on family law rules

A woman whose husband is not the father of her son will not be getting child support from him. Apparently, the woman kept the parentage of her son a secret from her spouse. In this unusual family law situation, a British Columbia judge said that when the child was born, there was no doubt the woman's husband believed he was the father, and his name was listed on the birth certificate. 

However, a paternity test a year after the couple separated showed conclusively that the husband was definitely not the child's father. The child was already four years old at the time of the test. The couple was living in Ontario during the separation, and the woman sought no child support. However, an Ontario judge told her that child support did not necessarily hinge upon paternity. But the woman moved to British Columbia after that.

B.C. divorce mediation helps fashion parenting plan checklist

Divorcing couples with children would do well to adopt a parenting plan checklist when it comes to co-parenting their children. Moving forward amidst separation, divorce mediation for separating British Columbia couples may make the difference between a relatively amicable situation and one that is wrought with anger, frustration and fear. Part of those mediation sessions should include the development of a checklist.

A parenting plan is a written document outlining how British Columbia parents will raise their children after divorce or separation. Not only will it speak to issues discussed in divorce mediation like access and custody, but it will touch on things like how decisions will be made that will affect the children. Will decisions be made jointly or by one person or the other? How will the separating couple share information between each other?And how will each parent spend time with the children?

British Columbia polyamorists face unique family law challenges

Polyamory literally means many loves. Polyamorous relationships have more than two people involved romantically and all agree that it is acceptable. But even so, British Columbia residents involved in polyamorous relationships may have unique circumstances when it comes to family law.

Canadian family law was adapted for common-law and same-sex couples, as well as parents of children conceived using reproductive technologies. But laws may have to be modified again for polyamorists. More than 550 people who responded to a survey regarding polyamory found most Canadian polyamorists live in British Columbia and Ontario, followed by Alberta. 

Adultery still grounds for divorce in British Columbia

The modern world has become more liberal in its views in general and that includes views regarding marriage. Yet even in the 21st century, adultery is still grounds for getting a divorce in British Columbia, and indeed in all of Canada. It is on the list, along with intolerable mental or physical cruelty and separation.

Canada's Divorce Act is executed equally in all provinces and territories. The Act speaks to issues surrounding divorce, including various support and custody matters. A petition for divorce can only be dealt with by the superior court of each province.

Gender issues embroiled in British Columbia family law

In a world that is becoming more inclusive of differences, gender issues have surfaced as volatile subject matter. Indeed, the complexities of gender in the 21st century have made their mark on family law, especially in British Columbia. A baby born in the province has been issued a health card that does not indicate gender -- purported to be the first in the world.

The parent of the eight-month-old baby said her child is a non-binary transgender person identifying as neither male nor female. The parent ultimately wants the child to choose their own gender. The parent of the child has either two X chromosomes or an X and a Y chromosome, which is a scientific, binary fact, but the child is being identified as non-binary.

Teachers can help children get through their parents' divorce

The family unit can be severely affected by parental separation of any kind. The often final separation of divorce is not only hard on a couple but on their children as well. In British Columbia, kids spend much of their days in the classroom, so teachers can help ease the raw emotions children are often faced with when their parents are divorcing.

Whether teachers realize it or not, they are important people in the lives of the children they teach. Most children trust, love and respect their teachers. Children are likely to talk to them about important issues in their lives such as the divorce of their parents. Teachers can provide structure and consistency when much of this is falling apart at home. Children like routine, and during divorce, they may look to their school lives to provide such consistency. Teachers can provide this and set boundaries for the child at the same time.

Charter of Rights impacting British Columbia family law

It took two weeks for British Columbia residents to find out for sure who would be running their province after the recent provincial election. Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is playing a huge part in family law and other facets of the legal world. For instance, the charter was behind the harrowing wait. The delay was blamed on the counting of absentee ballots. The charter was challenged in the late 1980s when two British Columbians studying law in Ontario weren't given a means to cast absentee votes in the B.C. provincial election. 

The British Columbia Court of appeal decided that the students' rights to vote -- as guaranteed in the charter --were violated since they weren't able to vote while out of province. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has continued to have a significant impact on residents of British Columbia, family law and, indeed, of all Canadian citizens. Issues like same-sex marriage, Sunday shopping and physician-assisted dying are just some of the controversial issues that have come under the charter's umbrella.

Collaborative law offers peaceful alternative to litigation

Just because your marriage is ending does not mean you and your spouse hate each other. In fact, you may have every intention of remaining on good terms, especially if you have children together. One thing that has the potential to destroy that positive relationship is litigation. This is why many divorcing couples in British Columbia are turning to collaborative law as a more dignified way to end their marriages.

The collaborative process is a group effort to arrive at agreeable terms with less stress than traditional divorce. You and your spouse will each retain legal counsel, and the four of you will meet to discuss and resolve crucial issues, such as property division, child custody and spousal support. To ensure you and your spouse have the best opportunity to make positive choices for your family, other professionals may join the discussion, such as financial experts, child specialists or divorce coaches.

How a bad divorce can make children sick, even decades later

Scientists and medical professionals have long believed that there is a connection between emotional health and physical health, and many studies have borne that out. A recent study made a connection between divorce and children's health with a surprising result. The data makes a compelling case for divorcing British Columbia parents to be extremely mindful of how they treat each other around their kids and the importance of co-parenting harmoniously.

The study involved 201 healthy adults, some of whom had parents who stopped talking to each other after a bad divorce when they were kids, some whose parents continued to communicate after their divorce, and some whose parents did not divorce. Each member of the study group lived in quarantine for five days, and they were all exposed to a common cold virus. Researchers monitored their health and then evaluated their findings.

Smile for the camera! What's with the divorce selfie phenomenon?

A picture of two people smiling like it's the happiest day of their lives. What exactly is newsworthy about that? It's the fact that the subjects of the picture just got a divorce. It's called a 'divorce selfie,' and its another trend gone viral that's caught the attention of the popular media. The old notion of a mean-spirited divorce followed by a lifetime of scorn, or perhaps indifference, is being turned on its head here in British Columbia and around the world.

Everyone knows that stress is unhealthy, so anything one can do to avoid it is a good thing. Stress is nearly impossible to eliminate in a divorce, but it may be possible to minimize it. Rather than choose a litigated divorce in a courtroom, with no quarter given and none asked, divorcing couples today can opt to settle their issues through mediation, or collaborative law. A non-confrontational divorce can lay the groundwork for a healthier post-divorce relationship. That should be of particular interest to divorcing parents of young children.