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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Family law: Psychologist apologizes for unfair opinion

A psychologist has agreed that the report she gave in court regarding a visitation issue was one-sided. The psychologist, who is based on the west coast, was involved in a family law case in which a boy who also lives on the west coast with his mother, was set to visit his father in Alberta. The psychologist told a family court judge that the boy might hurt himself if he had to make that visit, but the psychologist admitted never talking with the boy's father. 

The family court judge thought the psychologist's written submission was unusual, so she called the woman from the court. The psychologist could not corroborate the information she provided in her court submission, so the judge refused to accept it. The judge suggested the evaluation wasn't worth the paper it was written on and said it was so bad, in fact, that she was considering reporting the psychologist to the professional society to which she belonged.

Family law: Some vaccination debates end up in court

The decision to immunize or not to immunize children is creating issues in the judicial system. Family law in British Columbia always has the best interests of children in mind and recently, a B.C. judge ruled that two children should be immunized as per the provincial immunization schedule -- much to the disapproval of their mother. The judge also ruled that the children's father should make decisions on the children's behalf regarding medical and dental procedures.

More parents across the country have been taking these types of immunization disputes to court. Judges are saying cases that involve science and medicine are much more challenging since they must decide whether the science backing the issues is valid. These issues can be extremely complex.

What to do with jointly-held real estate after a breakup

Buying a home together is often an act that solidifies a relationship in a special way. You may feel that you are putting down roots or establishing a future with your partner. Legally, however, you are taking on the mutual obligation to pay a mortgage and the shared responsibility to maintain the property. Because you enter these agreements together, you must break them together, too.

When your relationship doesn't work out, you will still have the ownership of the house and all its commitments between you. Making decisions about what to do with the house is often a challenge because both partners must agree. If you and your spouse or partner are separating, it is wise to obtain reliable information about your options and obligations when it comes to the house you own jointly.

Children's issues: Chosen families in the LGBTQ realm

Family means many things to many people these days and gone are the times when most all families consisted of mom, dad, kids, family dog and the station wagon. Even though diversity is acceptable today, some British Columbia residents who are part of the LGBTQ community still don't get the support of their biological family members. Some children's issues may also be affected when kids begin to spend time with chosen family members -- or people who are accepting of diverse lifestyles.

For instance, parents who are in same-sex unions may have close friends who support them and who they consider family. These people usually become close to any children of the couple and may be provided with unconditional acceptance, love and support by these chosen family members. Often these chosen family members come from necessity.

Family law: Do therapists ever suggest divorce?

Many couples who are having marital difficulties try therapy to sort out their issues. There are some tools under family law in Alberta that may help them, but when they have pretty much tried everything including therapy and nothing seems to be working, do therapists ever recommend divorce to end the suffering? Most therapists say they steer clear of giving advice of any kind and let the couple make their own decisions. 

Some therapists have told couples there is nothing more they can do for them when no progress is being made. Some couples might want to continue to communicate to keep their marriages in tact and even the slightest hint from a therapist who doesn't think that is possible may be detrimental. Many therapists suggest if a couple has been to a therapist who advises divorce, they might do well to seek out a different therapist.

You don't have to end your marriage in a court battle

One of the reasons you may be hesitating to follow through with your plan to file for divorce is because you do not want to find yourself battling it out with your future former spouse in an Alberta courtroom. Few people would blame you for wanting to end your marriage in a less adversarial fashion. Fortunately, you can.

Many Alberta couples have turned to mediation as a way to resolve their marital issues without the animosity and acrimony that often happens during a traditional courtroom proceeding. Using this alternative method of dispute resolution gives the parties the chance to retain control over the fate of their families in a more amicable forum. The key is that both of you must voluntarily enter into the process, which means you are willing to compromise and work together to reach a settlement.

Understand your legal options. Make informed decisions. Contact the family law lawyers of Henderson Heinrichs LLP


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