Clients are often confused about the terms “guardianship”, “custody”, and “parenting time”. There are different terms used for parenting arrangements, depending on which legislation is applicable.
In Canada, the federal Divorce Act and the provincial Family Law Act use different terminology regarding parenting arrangements. In addition, the Divorce Act only applies to people who are married.
The Family Law Act applies to common-law spouses and married couples. In situations where both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act are applicable, the Divorce Act is generally used due to the principle of paramountcy (which means that where there is an inconsistency between federal and provincial laws, the federal law will take effect).
The Divorce Act
The Divorce Act previously used the terms “custody” and “access”. The Divorce Act has been amended so that the terms “custody” and “access” are no longer used.
The number of unrepresented litigants is rising. Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner recently told a group of students that approximately 25% to 30% of those applying for admission to the Supreme Court of Canada are unrepresented and can’t afford a family lawyer.
Self-Represented Litigants: The New Normal
Unrepresented litigants are becoming more common, as people often can’t afford a family lawyer. In lower courts or administrative tribunals, it is common for litigants to be self-represented. For example, people often do not have lawyers for landlord tenancy disputes. Often lower courts are designed so lawyers are not necessary.
For example, the BC Provincial Court system for family law matters and small claims is intended to be user-friendly so that people do not need to hire lawyers.
Similarly, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) is an online process designed to be used without lawyers. The CRT can deal with
In British Columbia, it is possible for children to have a children’s lawyer appointed to represent their interests. However, these situations are rare, and only permitted in exceptional circumstances. This is because the Courts in British Columbia do not want to involve children in family law proceedings between parents and/or cause further emotional harm or acrimony.
When two parents separate, often times they may find themselves in disagreement over what is in the best interests of their children. These disagreements can very quickly turn into acrimonious family law proceedings, where children are often caught in the middle of a cross fire and asked to take sides. In some situations, older children wish to voice their wishes and be in control of their future. Children’s voices are important, and often needed. There are a few ways to relay children’s wishes to our Courts in BC. One of those ways is to
Our estate litigation lawyers know that after the sadness of having a loved one pass away, it can come as a shock and disappointment to find out you were left out of the Will or the Estate for no good reason. You may believe that the will doesn’t represent the will maker’s true intentions. Or that you didn’t receive your fair share. In such cases you may be able to challenge the will. Challenging Wills generally happens in the following common scenarios:
One of the children or the child is left out of the Will or does not receive anything fair under the Will;
The deceased’s spouse is left out of the Will and instead all the estate has been given to children;
The deceased leaves his/her estate to his spouse, but unbeknownst to others, he/she had other children and spouses that no one knew about; etc