Family law aims to prevent disputes

A major overhaul of B.C.’s family law is now in force.

A major overhaul of B.C.’s family law is now in force, aimed at reducing disputes over shared parenting responsibilities and division of property when couples split up.

The Family Law Act was passed in 2011 with support from both the B.C. Liberal government and the NDP opposition. It took effect March 18.

One of the main changes is extending property division rules of marriage to unmarried couples who have lived together in a “marriage-like relationship” for at least two years.

Those rules mean property acquired during a relationship is divided equally, unless the couple sign an agreement to split assets differently. Debts accumulated during the relationship must also be shared, including mortgages, loans from family members, credit card and income tax debt.

As with a divorce, inheritances and property brought into the relationship by each partner are not shared.

Attorney General Shirley Bond introduced the changes as a way to keep family breakups out of court, and to take the “win-lose” terminology out of parenting. The traditional terms, “custody” and “access” of children, have been dropped from the Family Law Act, replaced by “parental responsibilities,” “parenting time” and “guardianship.”

The new act also makes it an offence for one parent to violate an agreed schedule for shared parenting.

The law also requires parents who wish to relocate to give 60 days’ notice to those authorized to have contact with children. That applies whether the children are involved in the relocation or not.

When the changes were debated in the legislature, NDP justice critic Leonard Krog spoke in support, noting that B.C. has one of the highest levels of family disputes in Canada.

“If we can keep people out of court, if we can let them settle their affairs in a more friendly and amicable way, then this is all to the good,” Krog said. “It means that people can get on with their lives. It will mean less emotional damage to children.”

Details of the new rules and answers to frequently asked questions are available on the B.C. government website at www.justicebc.ca/en/fam/. The site also has contact information for family justice centres that offer counselling at no charge.

 

Just Posted

A report on food security in Sooke reveals that nearly 15 per cent of people in Sooke have trouble getting food on the table. (The Canadian Press)
Food security a growing challenge in Sooke

‘This isn’t going to get any better if we don’t do anything about it’

A health-care worker takes part in HeArt Therapy session conducted by Shirley artist Sheila Thomas. (Contributed - Lorrie Beauchamp)
A creative ‘thanks’ to Vancouver Island’s essential workers

Artist Sheila Thomas creates therapy art session for workers on pandemic’s frontlines

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

The Victoria Royals will return to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign when they open next season against the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fans expected in the Save-On stands for Victoria Royals’ Oct. 2 home opener

It’ll be the first Western Hockey League action at the arena since March 2020

The City of Victoria is once again offering $50,000 for selected neighbourhood enhancement projects, through its participatory budgeting program. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria neighbourhoods can earn city funding for projects

Up to $50,000 available for initiatives that enhance, enrich neighbourhoods

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

(Metro Creative)
Adult soccer returns to Sooke after pandemic layoff

Drop-in games every Wednesday at Fred Milne Turf

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (Pixabay.com)
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

Most Read