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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Children's issues: Dealing with parental alienation

When parents' marriages end in divorce, often children are caught in the middle. When it comes to children's issues in Alberta, although parents are obligated to children's best interests first, there may be times when one parent pits the children against the other.  This may be something that causes parental alienation and which makes custody issues even more tenuous.

Often allegations against one parent are used against the other in family court where many decisions are made regarding child custody. In fact, 20% of these types of cases end up before a family court judge and many of them include allegations of domestic abuse. For decades judges have had to make the distinction between true parental alienation cases and those where child abuse or conjugal violence has actually been taking place.

Division of property inclusions, exclusions in British Columbia

Couples who are married or who are living together and decide to end their relationships have many issues to consider, and one is how to divide what they jointly own. When couples decide to divorce or to separate and they own property, they must discuss the division of property as part of a divorce settlement or separation agreement. In British Columbia the same rules apply to couples who are married and those who have been in a common law union for two or more years. 

There are two types of property with which couples must deal -- excluded and family. Family property must be shared equally between the couple unless there is an agreement in place that states otherwise. Family property includes everything the couple shared together or individually on the date they separate. That can include real estate, life insurance policies, RRSPs, pensions and any investments. Excluded property includes anything one person owned before the relationship began, any gifts or inheritance one person received during the relationship or many types of damage awards or insurance claim proceeds. 

Family law: Negoting a settlement with a bullying partner

There may be many reasons couples find themselves in trouble relationship-wise. It might be that there has been a history of bad treatment or abuse. Family law in Alberta helps couples to end their relationships or marriages, but when one partner is an bully, breaking up can be even harder to do. Agreeing on a separation agreement when one person is displaying bullying behaviour might have its own set of challenges.

Bullies want what they want when they want it and don't take kindly to the negotiating process. So, the other individual needs to use logic rather than emotion when trying to come to a separation agreement. It is possible to thwart the triggers that a bully can raise, and one way is to be definitive about the intention of the agreement. 

Children's issues: What does best interests really mean?

It can be a particularly difficult time for kids when they learn that their parents are divorcing. When it comes to children's issues in British Columbia, family court judges will always make decisions that take into account what is in the best interests of the children involved. But, what does that really mean? It might help parents to get some clarification.

In British Columbia, the best interests of the child is used as a guideline in court to protect a child's welfare -- physical, emotional and psychological. It also serves as a yardstick for a child's security, safety and well-being. Parents need to keep a few things in mind when they are considering what is in their children's best interests. Realizing that the courts will use the same measurements may help parents to do what's best for their kids.

Family law: Man in marriage of convenience faces citizenship woes

An immigrant will be having his citizenship revoked for a marriage faux pas. British Columbia and other Canadian provinces and territories do not forgive violations of family law or criminal law lightly. Even so, the federal government rarely revokes citizenship once granted, but it is revoking the citizenship of a Chinese man it says secured his citizenship through a false marriage nine years ago. The government claims the man was in an alleged marriage of convenience to obtain Canadian citizenship.

The man's former wife says she received a sum of cash on the wedding day and an additional sum after the wedding took place. The man divorced the woman two years after the marriage took place. The federal government was ordered by a court to give the man a fair hearing prior to stripping him of his citizenship. 

Date of marital separation important under Alberta family law

The date a couple formally separates plays a major part in the divorce process. Determining that date under family law in Alberta can be confusing and may lead to complications. Unlike proving the date of marriage, doing the same for separation can be complex since a couple may continue to live under the same roof even though they consider themselves separated.

It is crucial to note the exact date upon which a couple separates since the court may use that date to make certain financial calculations such as money owed to one spouse from another. It is usually the spouse who earns more who makes equalizations payments -- from the time of the marriage to the date of separation. When making a decision to select a date of separation, one spouse may prefer a date that is later if net worth has decreased over the years.

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

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