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The new Family Law Act: An introduction

On November 24, 2011, the new Family Law Act became law. Though this new act is now law, most of it is not expected to come into effect until some time in 2013.

The new act overhauls the BC family law system and brings with it many changes. Though some changes are only minor updates to the Family Relations Act, there are a number of more sweeping changes. For example, the new act:

  • addresses relocation: when one parent wants to move with a child and that move would interfere with the other parent’s ability to maintain his or her relationship with the child;
  • expands the definition of a spouse for applications for spousal support; and
  • promotes cooperation between parties and ways of resolving problems without going to court.

The text of the act as passed by the legislature is available online. (The complete version will not be available on the BC Laws website until it is all in effect.)

Over the next few months, we will run a series of ELAN blog entries to describe some of the important changes coming to family law in BC as a result of this new act. In addition to the changes listed above, these entries will describe the changes to the law about:

  • the language used in family law cases (e.g., changes to terms like custody and access)
  • agreements (and when they can be set aside)
  • how children’s best interests are considered in parenting disputes
  • guardianship
  • property and pension division, and the division of debts
  • child support and spousal support
  • protection orders (restraining orders)
  • court process and enforcement of orders

Check back to see the newest entries here. Or subscribe to our RSS feed to have the updates delivered straight to your Web browser or email inbox.

Our thanks to JP Boyd for providing the background for this series. You can find more information on the new Family Law Act, as well as other family law issues, at his BC Family Law Resource Blog.

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