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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Disclosure Disclosure Disclosure

In every family law case inevitably there are issues surrounding disclosure.  Not having full and complete disclosure is like trying to complete a puzzle without all of the pieces.  Your lawyer will ask you for a variety of documents throughout your matter.  It's in your interest to make your best efforts to produce these documents so that your lawyer does not have to follow-up with you unnecessarily and incur further charges.  In addition, it will likely assist in moving your matter along more expeditiously. Some documents and information that your lawyer is likely to request from you are:

Assisted Reproduction and the Family Law Act

The Family Law Act (“FLA”) will largely come into effect in British Columbia in March 2013, and many areas of family law will see substantial changes.  Over the next weeks, we are going to be looking at what effect the FLA is going to have on one of those areas, that of Assisted Reproduction (“AR”).  AR is an expansive area of law covering such topics as surrogacy, artificial insemination via sperm donation, egg donation, in vitro fertilization and cytoplasmic transfer.  AR touches on complex social issues such as same sex parenting and particularly lesbian motherhood, the rights of children, the rights of women, the rights of non-biological parents and the strength of the biological and non-biological parents’ intentions.  Many AR technologies and techniques were either unknown or in their infancy when the Family Relations Act (“FRA”) was first passed in 1978, and the FRA was silent on many matters which now affect a great many people.   Simply by acknowledging the complexities and addressing the area, the FLA is far ahead of the FRA.  This is not to say that there will be no disagreements and conflicts – AR issues are nuanced and difficult.  But British Columbia will now have a starting point, something which has been sorely lacking.

Maintaining Guideline Maintenance in Wealthy Families

An example of the courts using a straight application of the Child Support Guidelines in a high income situation:  In Roche v. Chen, 2012 BCSC 1290, the BC Supreme Court reviewed the circumstances under which an interim child support order could depart from the guidelines.  Section 4 of the CSG’s allows that,“[w]here the income of the spouse against whom a child support order is sought is over $150,000, the amount of a child support order is(a)        the amount determined under section 3; or(b)        if the court considers that amount to be inappropriate,(i)         in respect of the first $150,000 of the spouse’s income, the amount set out in the applicable table for the number of children under the age of majority to whom the order relates;(ii)        in respect of the balance of the spouse’s income, the amount that the court considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children who are entitled to support and the financial ability of each spouse to contribute to the support of the children; and(iii)       the amount, if any, determined under section 7.The court found that the concept of “condition, means, needs and other circumstances” has been predominantly interpreted, in the case of wealthy families, as indicating “…a more subjective analysis based upon current budget and pre-separation standard of living …”, and a reflection of the children’s  reasonable needs.   It went on, however, to remind that even in the case of wealthy parent, clear and compelling evidence to depart from the Guideline amounts needs first to be adduced.In Roche, the court found that the difference between the table amounts and the child’s reasonable needs were “relatively modest” when compared to the payor’s means and the Master ordered full guideline maintenance.

Reflections of a Student

I was first exposed to the area of family law after I completed my first year of law school and obtained a summer position with the Ministry of Attorney General working as a member of the Family Relations Act review team.  This experience led me to connect with the highly reputable lawyers at Henderson Heinrichs. When I first met the lawyers at Henderson Heinrichs, I was immediately impressed with the calibre of legal expertise and personable environment. Family law often involves a complex set of legal issues that includes tax, trusts, corporate, property, parenting, child protection, criminal, wills, immigration, pensions, employment and wills. It has been fascinating for me to learn from a group of lawyers who engage with challenging legal problems in a manner that is both thorough and effective. I have learned that in the practice of family law it is extremely valuable to have a specialized lawyer sift through the layers of personal, financial and legal variables surrounding a conflict in order to evaluate the client's options and produce a clear and efficient plan of action.

Social Media in Family Law or Divorce Actions Part 2

A while back we posted about the potential pitfalls of clients using social media.  This week the National - a magazine put out by the Canadian Bar Association - published an article by Ava Chisling on the same subject matter.  The conclusion was similar.  In a perfect world, the other side would post and tweet with impunity and our clients would maintain social media silence.

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


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