Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

Family law: Children want voices heard in divorce situations

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is often used in contentious divorce situations. Divorced British Columbia couples who co-parent their children often use ADR under family law to iron out issues regarding their kids -- issues regarding things such as parenting plans, visitation, custody and support. A parent coordinator may be able to help in the process to help keep individual cases out of courtrooms. 

Children are often more adversely affected by their parents' divorces than their parents may be. Studies have shown that kids want to be able to voice their opinions when it comes to those issues that affect them during their parents' divorces. As a matter of fact, children have the right to be heard as indicated in the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified.

Collaborative law much better divorce solution than litigation

Resolving legal issues out of court is the ideal situation when it comes to the divorce process. The collaborative law process in British Columbia encourages couples to work with specialists to come to some consensus on difficult issues that accompany divorce, such as child support and custody. The collaborative process offers a safe place for former couples to reduce any conflict that may arise from these discussions.

Court should be a last resort for divorcing couples. When a judge makes decisions for a couple, it takes away any control they may have. The decisions made by a family court judge may actually make matters worse and fuel anger and resentment. The irony is that the couple usually wants conflict resolution and taking matters to court may just escalate those conflicts.

Divorce can be amicable among British Columbia spouses

When one thinks about a divorcing couple, often thoughts come up with two people wanting to duke it out in the worst way possible. Divorce doesn't have to be like that, though. British Columbia couples who have decided that their marriages are no longer working can, indeed, have amicable divorces. The first step in achieving that goal is to think about how reacting negatively toward each other affects not only the person with whom they've spent much of their time, but about how treating each other badly might affect others in their family -- especially their children.

It takes time to heal after divorce and when former partners realize this won't happen overnight, they may be better able to move ahead with mutual respect and compassion, despite the circumstances that lead to the divorce. The primary concern is settling upon matters that involve any children such as custody and support payments. Other financial aspects can be ironed out later. 

Family law: Parental conflict has negative impacts on children

Kids may bear the devastating brunt of their parents' divorces more than anyone and sometimes even more than the couples themselves. Family law in British Columbia always considers what is best for the children in family situations. Children are very perceptive and they can be adversely affected by the parents' anger toward each other, so when parents also consider what's best for their kids, they may think again before displaying animosity or angry feelings toward each other in front of their children.

Putting a child in the line of parents' crossfire is never healthy for anyone, especially not for the child. Research has shown that kids are affected by how their parents handle conflict and the outfall from this can affect a child well into adulthood, perhaps even for life. Those areas that most negatively affect children are when parents speak negatively about each other, displays of violence or unhealthy outbursts of anger from parents, asking children to relay messages between parents, or forbidding children to mention one parent to another.

Family law: Divorce, marriage stats important for research

It seems statistics regarding marriage and divorce tie into health care. Family law in British Columbia and in the rest of the country it seems, is closely enmeshed with public service areas, including public health. Statistics Canada (StatsCan) has stopped publishing marriage and divorce data, much to the chagrin of researchers who are calling for the reinstatement of those figures since they say it paints a more rounded picture of the nation's public health, housing and child care.

StatsCan stopped collecting information regarding the marital health of the nation about 10 years ago. But activists, intellectuals and scholars want the government to begin collecting that information again since being unaware, experts say, can be detrimental to business innovation and makes it hard to ascertain when policies are or aren't working. Experts argue that not having this data makes it difficult to pinpoint what challenges are the greatest in the country.

Hot real estate market creates issues with property division

A real estate market that has been on fire for some time in Vancouver has created a new set of issues for divorcing couples. Real estate transactions in British Columbia have been steaming, which makes the issue of property division in the province somewhat more complicated. Any property owned by spouses on their separation date is considered family property and is on the block for division, no matter whose name is on the deed.

Some property, however, is not included such as that which a spouse owned prior to the marriage. What is included is the value increase of that property during the course of the relationship. In other words, if the one spouse bought the property for $150,000 and it is now worth $250,000, the difference in value is considered family property. That can be considerable if the market has been hot.

Adolescents affected more by divorce than younger kids

Most teenagers are trying to find their ways in the world. Between the raging hormones of puberty, trying to find their place in the social construct, dealing with friends, school and the rest, the stress levels of British Columbia teens can be pretty high. Add to that a bombshell announcement that mom and dad are heading for a divorce and it might be too much for them to handle without some help.

A recent study showed that teens have a harder time dealing with the divorce of their parents than their younger siblings. So, the rationale that a couple should stay together for the sake of the children is not the wisest advice since adolescents can more readily pick up the negatives in the parents' relationships. The report showed that there were heightened emotional issues among children around the ages of 14.

Family law: What to do if child abuse is suspected

There are laws in place to protect the physical and emotional well-being of children. When British Columbia residents suspect a child is being abused, it is incumbent upon them to report it to the authorities. Family law rules exist to ensure convicted child abusers are punished to the extent of the law.

There are four main areas of abuse: sexual, emotional, neglect and physical. Abuse is often hard to spot, but even when someone suspects a child is being abused, he or she must report it. When a child has self-abusing behaviours, self harms or has trouble walking or sitting, he or she may be suffering from sexual abuse. Emotional abuse signs can include sleep disorders, nausea, fear of many things, acting out and wetting the bed. When a child frequently misses school, is always hungry, has poor hygiene or never has a change of clothes, that child may be neglected, and physical abuse signs include unexplained injuries, aggression or a fear of going home.

Family law: Resolving business problems involving family members

When family members work together, it can be even more difficult to resolve problematic business issues. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are provisions under family law in British Columbia to help with conflict resolution, even if the dissension might be between those who are related. Running a business with family can unearth possible personal issues that may have been festering for years and, unfortunately, might be spilling over into professional life.

Keeping everyone involved at the centre of the discussion is paramount and there are definitive ways of doing that. The people involved should come to the table wanting to resolve the problem. And the focus should remain on the main issue at hand and not veer off course even if the going gets uncomfortable. It may be that the problem is between people of different ages who have different ways of looking at or doing things.

Islamic marriage contracts and divorce in British Columbia

The breakdown of marriages affects people of various customs and religious backgrounds in different ways. When it comes to those of the Islamic faith in British Columbia and the issue of divorce, things can get even more difficult when religious-based marriage contracts are part of the scenario. It has been challenging for lawyers as well as for the courts.

A maher is a traditional Islamic marriage contract. When a couple of that faith decides to divorce in Canada, it is pretty much the same -- considerations are given to issues like spousal and child support and custody. But when a couples marries with these contracts in place and there are specific agreements regarding things like assets contained within them, a family court judge has to decide on their validity. In one such instance, the maher of an Islamic couple in British Columbia said that in the event the couple should divorce, the husband had to give his wife a kilogram of gold. The judge ruled that the contract was valid and ordered the man to his spouse $56,498.62 which was the value of that amount of gold at the time.

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