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May 2015 Archives

Divorce and Canada's overlapping family laws

Marital status and other factors determine whether provincial laws, federal laws or both apply during the legal process of ending a relationship. Any couple in British Columbia can separate but only married couples can divorce. In general, the federal Divorce Act exclusively concerns married individuals, while provincial laws cover separations of married or unmarried couples who've had "marriage-like" relationships.

Can spouses be separated while living in the same residence?

The obvious answer seems like it should be "no," but the real answer is "yes." There is no official legal action that must be taken in British Columbia courts to separate from a spouse, a term that includes long-term unmarried partners as well as married individuals. Spouses separate and divorce at will, without requiring permission from one another.

Obtaining a family order to exercise grandparents’ rights

Divorce and other conflicts between British Columbia couples can disrupt several relationships within a family. Children must adapt to the parents' separation. Grandparents may lose contact with grandchildren when a parental dispute locks them out of regular visits.

How do spouses divide property when a relationship ends?

Dividing assets and debt following the end of a marriage or a long-term relationship can be difficult for spouses in British Columbia. Family laws concerning separation and divorce use the term "spouses" in reference to married individuals, as well as parties in a common-law relationship for a minimum of two years.

Child custody arrangements during separation and divorce

Unmarried and married parents are the guardians of their children, whether or not they remain together in the same household. Canada's federal Divorce Act uses the traditional term "custody" to cover parental duties toward children, living arrangements for children and a non-custodial parent's access to a child following a divorce.