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Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

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.

The legalities surrounding property upon divorce or separation

What happens to property when a couple splits up depends upon their status. If a couple in Canada is married, the spouses have definitive ways in which property is divided. That isn't so if a couple has been in a common law union. Married couples who separate haven't formally ended the marriage until they are granted a divorce. As soon as a common law couple decide to call it quits, that's the end of the relationship and no legal formalities are needed.

Property, under the law, can mean land, a home, and assets like a car, boat, motor home, etc. It can also mean any family pets, insurance policies or RRSP dividends. In addition to sharing assets, a couple needs to share the debt load as well, which can include things like credit card debt, car loans, personal line of credit or a mortgage.

Making sure divorce is the right option for couples in Canada

No couple who ties the knot ever wishes to untie it. But stuff happens in life that sometimes just can't be fixed other than by letting go. There are some things, however, a couple in Canada might consider doing or thinking about before taking the final plunge -- divorce -- to end their marriage. After all, relationships change over time and some experts say perhaps the communication between partners isn't what it once was. For relationships to survive the long haul, they need to be nurtured.

Not spending enough time together may cause a huge rift in a marriage. Taking the time to go on dates may keep the spark alive. Even quiet moments spent in each other's company may help. Also, individuals need to learn how to disagree with each other without resorting to low blows like name calling. 

Family law in Canada: Managing assets for minor children

It's hard to imagine a parent stealing either money or property from his or her children, but it does happen. Family law rules are in place in Canada to protect children and sometimes that even means from their parents. A child could be named in a will as a beneficiary, and it is incumbent upon the parents or guardians to safeguard any assets that belong to their children or wards. 

There are no criminal laws in place that speak to this issue, though there is a section in the Criminal Code of Canada that speaks to theft and provincial legislation in place that says parents or guardians should act in the best interests of children when it comes to managing their assets, which could include property. The value noted for property in most areas is $10,000, when it is permissible for a parent or guardian to assume responsibility for the assets. If the property exceeds that amount, an application must be made to the court to become the guardian of any property that belongs to a minor child.

Divorce happens when the give and take ups and goes

People get into relationships with all sorts of preconceived notions. The honeymoon phase doesn't last forever and if couples in Canada don't work on their marriages or partnerships, they may soon be heading for splitsville and ultimately a divorce. So, instead of giving each other the cold shoulder, couples might realize that there may be times when they expect too much from the mate and honest communication may be the way to remedy that issue.

Statistically speaking, things don't look bright for married couples. Four out of 10 marriages end in divorce, according to the 2006 census. Statistics Canada will no longer collect data pertaining to divorce rates in the country. But the numbers are escalating. Experts think it might have something to do with unrealistic expectations each partner places on the other. 

Getting around divorce bullying in Canada

The end of a marriage can bring out the worst in people. No couple in Canada ever marries with divorce in mind, but when situations change and life gets tough, some fences can't be mended. The only recourse for some couples is to separate. But, there may be times when one partner holds a grudge or is angry and he or she may resort to bullying tactics during divorce proceedings. There are ways to handle such behaviour.

One partner likely knows the other's Achilles Heel and may use it to add salt to any wound. Bullying may come in forms of name calling or outright threats, in which case authorities could become involved. A bully, even an ex, needs to see that such behaviour won't be tolerated and showing strength of character is one way of doing that. Standing up to negative behaviour will often stop a bully in his or her tracks.

Divorce in Canada: Reducing the tension

No couple wakes up one morning and decides today is the day for a marriage breakup. Couples in Canada make the decision to divorce most often when all avenues to rectify problems in a marriage have been exhausted. Although divorce can take its toll both emotionally and physically on the individuals and their family members -- especially children -- there are some things that can be done to minimize the stress a divorce can cause.

No one needs to go through tough times alone. There is help available. Even those who don't wish to discuss their personal feelings with a friend or loved one can find help in a counsellor, family priest or minister. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) says it is important not to internalize all the feelings associated with divorce and there is no weakness in getting help.

Divorce can be a positive outcome for a negative situation

When a couple calls it quits today, it's not the end of the world. Gone is the stigma divorce carried in the mid-20th century in Canada. In fact, many conscious uncouplings today are done with the spouses remaining good friends for the sake of each other and for their children. Individuals are celebrating rather than hibernating after what used to be considered a catastrophic life event.

Divorce doesn't have to include the fights, the push and pull of custody battles, the back and forth diatribe regarding spousal support and the hollering about what's going to happen to the matrimonial home. No, today, divorce is much more civilized and amicable. Enter the happy divorce.

Many marriages in Canada end in divorce at the start of the year

January is the month for new beginnings and, apparently, for endings. The first month of the year seems to be the month when many marriages in Canada come to an end, or at least the month when people think about separating or divorcing. In fact, January has become known as the divorce month.

It seems some couples who have been having difficulties in their marriages don't want to bring things to a head just around the holidays, but when the presents have been opened, the tree taken down and the decorations put away, many couples who have been thinking about separating take a formal step forward. Even if they're not ready to dive into divorce head first, they at least start thinking seriously and perhaps planning next steps, in January. Many individuals whose marriages are in trouble, take this month to do some inner reflection and to make some serious, possibly life-changing decisions.

Dignified divorce in Canada in the modern age

Ending a marriage today isn't what it used to be back in the 40s and 50s. In fact, more modern married couples in Canada are looking upon divorce as a chance to grow separately as individuals yet still remain friends with their former spouses. There are times when great parents make terrible couples, yet they want to remain friends for the sake of their children.

These modern families even stay intact when one or both spouses remarry. Those who are fans of an amicable divorce say it's just like having one, big extended family. These divorced couples don't badmouth each other in front of their children, and, in fact, they often co-parent better than when they were married.