Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

Choosing Family Law Mediation

In part due to British Columbia’s Family Law Act, mediation has become an increasingly popular way to work towards dispute resolution in divorce. From handling child custody matters to resolving property division issues, mediation can be an effective, solution-oriented way of navigating the separation and divorce process.

While there are certainly benefits to choosing family law mediation, it may not be a tool that is right for all couples. Taking the time to understand the process can help in the decision as to whether to proceed.

The Importance Of Intelligent Co-Parenting

When a couple with children is considering divorce, the primary concern is almost always directed at how the kids will handle it. Thanks to Canadian family law, children’s welfare is a top priority and divorce situations are no exception.

How can parents ensure that their children adjust as well as possible post-divorce? According to one certified facilitator and parenting instructor and co-parenting coach, the solution lies in adopting a new perspective.

Parental Rights For Same-Sex Parents

Same-sex couples, whether married or common-law, have the same rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual counterparts. From ensuring that same-sex families with more than two parents have equal parenting responsibilities to recognizing issues often associated with assisted reproduction, some practical considerations often need to be made when navigating certain obstacles.

The Complexities Of Spousal Support In British Columbia Divorces

What happens when a couple used to the finer things in life gets divorced? In some cases, it could depend on the real estate market or a host of other seemingly unrelated factors. Spousal support, or money that is paid to one spouse by the other following a divorce, is assessed based on a range of factors. The intention behind spousal support is to ensure that neither party suffers from economic hardship as a result of the marriage’s breakdown and often takes into account the length of the relationship, economic positions, and the role that each spouse played in the relationship.


Do marriage counsellors ever recommend divorce?

Most couples having problems want to try everything to work things out. No one gets married with the idea that the union will end in divorce. But if a British Columbia couple has gone through the gamut of tools in their arsenal to try to work things out and nothing seems to be working, does a therapist ever suggest that perhaps divorce is the answer after all? 

Part of a therapist's job is to facilitate communication between people who are having problems. In an ideal situation, the couple will come to the conclusion on their own about the future of the marriage. Therapists say they don't like to give direct advice, even if it's apparent that the couple may be headed for divorce because of either the fighting or lack of communication altogether. 

Family law: Can kids pick which parent with whom to live?

When parents separate, it often puts their children in a precarious position. If the kids are very young, the impact may be minimal since they may not even realize what's happening, but older children will feel the pain as much as their parents do. In fact, children in Canada may often wish to choose with whom they're going to live, but ultimately, that should be the decision of the parents. Under family law, if they can't come to an agreement, the court will make a decision for them.

Older children have more of a say when it comes to the decisions that may affect their lives. It is most apt to be kids around the age of 12 and older, although that is not carved in stone since many children younger than 12 show a great depth of maturity. Even though children may be encouraged to have their say, a parent should never pit his or her children against the other parent.

Catching a financial cheater in the divorce process in Canada

When separation means having to share certain assets, there may be occasion when one spouse is less than stellar when it comes to being transparent about all earnings or assets. Divorce in Canada can bring out the worst in some people and that includes greediness. So, it may be necessary for one spouse to catch the other spouse who is being dishonest about finances.

Those who have a lot financially at stake may try to find ways of hiding it such as opening out-of-country bank accounts or asking other family members or friends to safekeep the funds for them. The law says couples going through a divorce must completely disclose their finances to each other. Those figures are used to ascertain child and spousal support amounts in many instances.

Family law in Canada: Ironing out child custody issues

Fighting over who gets the kids in a divorce situation rarely does anyone any good, and it's especially stressful for the kids. Battling parents may be able to use the tools provided by family law in Canada to iron contentious issues when it comes to child custody. High conflict parents may do more harm to their children than they realize, including a court order to have the children placed in care.

There are ways to limit the tension and to come to a consensus when it comes to child custody. A peaceful resolution is in the best interests of everyone and may help the mental health of children who are going through the divorce as well. By being cordial and non-accusatory, more can be accomplished. In no way should a child ever be used as a go-between for his or her parents. 

Property division: How does an inheritance figure into a divorce?

If a married individual is gifted with a sizable amount of money and the relationship breaks down, is it fair that the money should be split upon divorce? When it comes to property division issues in Canada, a person can protect an inheritance if a marriage ends in divorce. The most obvious way is with either a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married or a postnuptial agreement once the parties are already married.

These sorts of agreements need to be in writing and clearly state exactly what the issues are. Any gifted money should be kept separate from any used in a matrimonial home. If the money should be used as a down payment for a marital home and no document was in place to protect it, it may be considered part of the home and need to be split with a former spouse. 

Family law: How to help kids through the divorce of their parents

Couples who put their children's needs first when they are separating have made the wisest decision. Family law in Canada always ensures children's welfare is paramount in any situation and that includes when their parents are divorcing. Former couples who develop a positive relationship as co-parents are indeed looking after both the physical and mental well-being of their kids.

When children have both parents in their lives in a meaningful way, it often helps them to accept a divorce situation and move forward in a healthy way. This bodes true for kids of same-sex relationships as well.  Family mediation can often help parents iron out contentious issues pertaining to their kids -- like custody, visitation, support and other things like schooling, disciplining, religion, etc. The most important thing next to taking care of a child's physical needs is that he or she is made to feel safe and secure.

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