British Columbia polyamorists face unique family law challenges

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Divorce on August 8, 2017.

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.

About half responding to the survey indicated that three people were involved in a romantic relationship with most choosing to live in two households. At least one child lives full-time in the household of 23 per cent of those answering the survey. Polyamorists set themselves apart from polygamists by pointing out their relationships are egalitarian and consensual.

In 2013 in British Columbia, a court settled a case in which a woman — who left a polyamorous family dynamic that included the father of her children — wanted to move out of the province. The problem was, she wanted to take her kids with her. The judge said the children should remain in British Columbia so both parents could have time with the children, siblings and extended family.

Many British Columbians in polyamorous relationships have taken measures for worst case scenarios dealing with health care, emergency authorizations where children are concerned and powers of attorney. However, consulting a lawyer in British Columbia experienced in family law would be wise for parties in such relationships. A lawyer could advise what documents need to be addressed to safeguard all those involved, including children.

Source:, “Canadian polyamorists face unique legal challenges, research reveals“, Alison Crawford, Accessed on July 23, 2017

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