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Living Together or Living Apart now available as an eBook

Living Together or Living  ApartOur popular, award-winning booklet (received the 2013 Apex Grand Award) Living Together or Living Apart is now available as an eBook! You can download it to any eBook reader, including Kindle, Kobo, or your smart phone, iPad, or tablet. This means you don’t need an Internet connection to access this publication, and you don’t need to make printouts to share information. Cross-references are linked and terms in bold link to the Glossary, making it easy to navigate to information your client needs. For more information about eBooks, check out Lifehack’s Ten Advantages of E-book Readers.

Living Together or Living Apart explains the basics of family law in BC. It includes information about:

  • being married or in a marriage-like relationship (also called a common-law relationship),
  • what separation and divorce mean,
  • how to work out parenting arrangements, and
  • how to sort out money matters.

It also explains your legal options and where to get help, and includes a chapter for Aboriginal families.


Moving with children: Provincial Court’s first decision on relocation

The new Family Law Act (FLA) came into force a little over three months ago. Since then we’ve seen a slow trickle of rulings come through Provincial Court that clarify the law and will be used to inform future rulings. The most recent of these rulings was S.G. v. J.P, which dealt with moving with children. In this case, two divorced parents shared equal parenting time of their daughter and the mother wanted to move from the interior to the lower mainland with the child.

Under the FLA, a guardian who wants to relocate with a child must give 60 days’ notice to every other guardian or person who has contact with the child. The exception to this is if there is a court order in place exempting this procedure. Under the Act, “relocation” is any move that will have a “significant impact” on the child’s relationship with the other guardian or person with contact.

After receiving the notice, any other guardian then has 30 days to file an objection with the court. Assuming you don’t share “substantially equal” parenting time, then the guardian proposing the move must prove:

  • the move is in good faith, and
  • reasonable arrangements have been proposed to preserve the child’s relationship with the other guardian.

If you do share equal parenting time, then you must also demonstrate that the move is in the best interest of the child.

In this specific case, the judge was satisfied that the first two conditions were met: the mother had a good reason to move, wasn’t making the decision out of spite, and had proposed a schedule that would preserve the daughter’s relationship with her father and extended family. The judge found, however, that the mother had not satisfied the third criteria due to uncertainties in the mother’s plan and the closeness of the daughter to her extended family in the interior.

As JP Boyd points out in his Family Law Blog, this shows us two important things:

  • a failure in just one of the three criteria may be enough to stop a move;
  • the third criterion —the best interest of the child — requires more thought and consideration than the first two criteria . Each of the best interests factors should be taken into account when determining the best interest of the child.

A full list of the criteria considered for determining the best interest of the child can be found in s. 37(2) of the FLA. You can find more information on relocation and the Family Law Act in our publications Guide to the New BC Family Law Act and Living Together or Living Apart.

Hot off the press: Our series on the new Family Law Act is now in booklet form!

As soon as the new BC Family Law Act was announced last year, there were questions. What’s new in the act? When does it come into effect? If I’m in the middle of applying for a court order, does it change anything? We were asking these questions, and so were many of you.

That’s why, beginning last February, with JP Boyd’s help, we began running a series of ELAN entries about the new law. After 8 months and 17 different entries, we’ve finally wrapped up the series.

For your convenience, we’ve combined all the entries into a single booklet, the Guide to the New BC Family Law Act. The booklet is now available for download as a pdf and will be available in print from Crown Publications by the end of this month.

In the coming months, we’ll be following up with more information and training on the Family Law Act. Stay tuned!

Changing your relationship status: Social media and family law

“I saw you tweeted that tumblr post I put on Facebook.”

A few years ago, that sentence would have been complete gibberish, and you’d think twice about sitting down beside someone who said that on a bus. Nowadays, however, you wouldn’t give it a second thought. That’s how ingrained social media has become in our everyday lives; in fact, half of all Canadians use social media.

As social media penetrates our lives, it’s no surprise that it’s having greater and greater implications under the law. A quick search of CanLII — an electronic legal research database — shows that 167 court decisions mentioned Facebook in the first half of 2012 in Canada.

While its use in criminal law has been big news before — tracking down rioters, for example — its effects on family law have been more subtle.

A survey in the UK found that Facebook was cited as a contributing factor to more than one third of divorce cases. For example, Facebook’s list of suggested friends alerted two women to the fact that they were married to the same man. Not only is social media a contributing factor to family law cases, it’s increasingly being used as evidence in these cases.

Your status updates and posts, which are often public, could affect custody, spousal support, or more. They can be used to demonstrate a number of things:

  • your state of mind;
  • proof of communication;
  • proof of time and place; and
  • evidence of actions

This isn’t necessarily limited to what is publicly visible, either; a judge in Connecticut ordered a couple to divulge their Facebook and dating site passwords during their divorce proceedings.

It’s not entirely clear how social media will continue to shape and affect family law, but apparently, it’s having an effect, so perhaps it’s best to keep an eye on what you’re posting.

Hot off the press from LSS! Living Together or Living Apart

Living Together or Living Apart

Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce

This revised booklet is now available in Arabic, traditional Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese in print and online. Now in its third edition, this popular publication explains the basics of family law in BC, and includes information about living common-law or being married, the process for separation and divorce, how to work out custody, support, and access issues if there are children involved, and how to sort out money matters. It also describes legal options and where to get help. We’ve tweaked the content (minor clarifications) here and there, updated the LSS information, and added new resources.

French translation was provided by the Francophone Affairs Program, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat. The French translation was supported by the Canada-British Columbia Cooperation Agreement on Official Languages. Translation and production of Arabic, Chinese (traditional), Farsi (Persian), Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese was provided by MOSAIC, with the help of a grant from the Law Foundation of BC.