Family disagreements such as divorce disputes often bring difficult days to the lives of people in Duncan, BC.
When children are involved and a marital relationship breaks down, everyone knows that the children should be the paramount consideration but, sometimes, this is forgotten when emotions take hold.
Even without children, relationship breakdowns and family disputes can create challenging emotional, financial, mental and sometimes physical stresses. Frequently, the worst side of people’s behaviour emerges.
There is never a simple one-size-fits-all solution to these problems. But there are solutions to family law issues and, in trying times, it helps to know that you have the support of a local family lawyer with your best interests at heart.
At Jennings Family Law in Duncan, we will help you navigate tough days and fight to bring stability and security back to you and your family.
Although there is a federal Divorce Act of Canada for married couples, the main legislation to guide us on family law issues in BC is the Family Law Act.
The Act addresses other issues besides divorce, such as couples looking to have a child with assisted reproduction or family violence.
The Act applies to the following individuals:
The Family Law Act provides detailed guidelines on how to solve family law problems so that people in dispute can settle differences out of court and reach fair and equitable solutions to family problems.
As well as helping to solve divorce disputes such as child support, spousal support, and the division of property and debt, the legislation is also designed to:
The Family Law Act does NOT cover issues such as adoption, child protection, and wills and estate problems.
The Family Law Act puts a child’s best interests above all. So, decisions made by parents, judges, and other decision-makers regarding children must always be made with their interests first.
In cases of family violence, the best interests of the children become a matter of grave importance. The child’s safety and well-being must be protected to the greatest possible extent.
Judges will need to assess the potential impact of family violence on the child, as well as the capacity to care for the child.
In reaching a decision, the following needs to be considered:
Parental responsibilities are listed in the Family Law Act and are directed not only at parents of children within a marriage but at all guardians of children.
In the majority of relationships, these decisions are made jointly between parents or guardians. However, in some divorces, sole legal custody may be granted by the court, meaning that one parent has decision-making responsibilities.
When relationships breakdown, people often want to move to another location within the state, interstate, or even overseas. Again, where children are involved, BC’s Family Law Act comes into play.
If a legal guardian of a child (usually the parent) wants to relocate with that child, certain regulations are laid out in the Act to address this.
If both parents are guardians and one parent wants to relocate with the child, he or she must provide the other parent with a 60-day notice of relocation, stating the intended date and location.
The other parent can challenge the relocation in court within 30 days of receiving the notice. Again, the best interests of the child are paramount.
If one parent has legal custody of the child and the other has only visitation rights, the same 60-day notice period applies but the other parent has no legal right to challenge the relocation.
Child custody and support are commonly the most disputed issues in divorces in Duncan.
Divorcing couples must agree on who has legal custody of a child and who has physical custody. This must take into account the physical, psychological and emotional safety, health, security and well-being of the child.
Legal custody refers to the decision-making responsibilities for the child’s upbringing. Generally, joint custody is preferred by the courts, as input from both parents is considered best for a child.
Physical custody refers to where the child spends most of his or her time.
Child support refers to payments made by the parent who does not have physical custody of the child to the other parent to assist with raising the child.
Calculations are made according to the needs of the child and the income of the non-custodial parent. The amounts can be agreed upon in a court-approved separation agreement or ordered by the court.
Child support orders are enforceable under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program.
Spousal support is treated separately from child support.
It is intended to assist a separating or divorced spouse to transition to single life and is usually in the form of monthly payments.
The higher-earning spouse generally makes payments over a set period or until the recipient remarries or dies.
Again, spousal support can be calculated and specified in a separation agreement or ordered by the court.
In an uncontested divorce, a separation agreement is a convenient way for a divorce to be handled amicably and restrict the need for court intervention.
If two spouses can agree on the main aspects of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, property and debt division, and spousal support, a divorce may pass through the family law system with the minimum of stress, cost, and delays.
With our guidance, families make informed decisions and reduce the chance of conflict and court appearances in challenging situations.
Jennings Family Law provides legal, mediation, and arbitration resources to use independently or with the assistance of a lawyer.
Contact us today for a confidential consultation and case evaluation.