Peterson Stark Scott
Schedule your consultation
(604) 634-2308 or
(800) 675-2419
View Our Practice Areas

Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

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.

B.C. family law: Shared custody helps young children

One of the most important things for children whose parents are going through a divorce is letting them know everything will be all right. Family law in British Columbia always takes into consideration the best interests of any children involved in the proceedings. Some young children don't do well with change, and a change in their family dynamic may cause them undue stress and anxiety.

A recent study out of Sweden shows that the situation that is the best for the mental health of children of divorce is having both their parents share in custodial duties. The paper showed that preschool kids who spend equal time with both parents in their respective homes experienced fewer psychological issues than the kids where one parent had custody. In fact, the study showed that those children whose parents had divorced, but who shared custody, were on equal footing with those whose parents were still together.

B.C. divorce mediation: Bringing dignity into the divorce process

When it comes to volatility, there is probably no other situation fraught with such high-intensity emotion than divorce. Those emotions can be diffused amongst divorcing couples in British Columbia through divorce mediation, which can bring back the dignity into a sometimes otherwise undignified situation. There are many ways a divorcing couple today can lessen the stress between them and for their children and other family members.

Divorce mediation can introduce services and information that can aid in co-parenting and co-existing as separate individuals yet with a strong familial bond. Services exist today like divorce doulas -- those who help in the divorce process as birthing doulas help in the birthing process. There are even ways a separating or divorcing couple can time-share the family home. Divorce has changed radically over the years. 

Divorce in British Columbia doesn't have to be all doom and gloom

It seems rather than pine away for months after getting divorced, people are celebrating instead. Women, especially, in British Columbia are turning what some see as a negative into a positive by doing things after they divorce that are usually associated with happy occasions -- like throwing a party. Breaking up is hard to do, but it doesn't have to mean the end of the world.

Those who do these things say they are celebrating the people who helped them get through one of the toughest times in their lives. Divorce parties are meant to be more soothing rather than celebratory. It is a way of getting over the heartache of divorce. Sometimes these occasions come complete with photographers and divorce registries -- for those who lost much of their belongings after a split.

Family law in British Columbia: Breaking divorce news to children

Children -- even adult children -- usually have a difficult time with the revelation that their parents are splitting up. There are provisions under the family law umbrella in British Columbia that give separating parents the tools to broach the subject with their families. As with most things in life, honesty seems to be the best policy.

How this discussion goes may set the tone for children in the rest of the divorce process, so it is extremely important to plan what words will be used beforehand. Not only the couple's lives will be changed, but their children's lives as well. Approaching the reality with kids in the most positive way possible and with the least amount of conflict should be top priority.

Family law: When religious rules favour one parent over another

Shariah law in the Islamic world always favours giving fathers custody of children when a couple is separating. Family law in British Columbia doesn't always see things from that perspective. These Shariah rulings are legal in Middle East countries like Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Thousands of these people have dual citizenship with Canada, and therein lies the legal conundrum.

Shariah divorce law leans towards giving custody of children to their fathers, whereas in Canada, custody of children is usually given to mothers or shared jointly. Under Islamic law, if the father who has custody dies or disappears, custody then goes to the children's paternal grandfather. Mothers may be allowed to have custody of children up until they're 12 years old.

British Columbia family law: Domestic contracts becoming popular

Domestic contracts are becoming increasingly popular in the relationship world. British Columbia family law paves the way for such contracts which can stipulate how partners wish to arrange their finances and other areas of their lives such as property ownership and other issues in the event of the relationship ending. An agreement of this sort can be fashioned at any point in the partnership -- prior to marriage or cohabitation or after.

Such a document for common-law spouses is called a cohabitation agreement, while for married couples it's referred to as a marriage contract. Both are domestic contracts. In either document the couple can be on the same page when it comes to things that differ from the norm in regard to family law rules concerning property and spousal support. However, the contract can't stipulate who would have custody of any children should the relationship end or allude to any parenting plans. All issues regarding children would be decided at the time of separation.

B.C. collaborative law: Embracing the happy divorce

Divorce can bring out the mean in people, but it doesn't have to be that way. More British Columbia residents who are separating are embracing collaborative law suggestions and choosing to consciously uncouple with a smile on their faces. It beats a long, drawn-out litigation process.

The whole premise behind navigating divorce waters calmly is the idea that just because a couple will no longer be a couple doesn't mean that the family has to break apart with them. Divorce seems to be on the cusp of a revolution in this instance. Some divorcing couples are viewing what was deemed as nothing but a negative for the family dynamic as a relief to a difficult situation that doesn't have to mean the end of shared family rituals.

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.