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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Family law: The first things to do when divorce is on the horizon

Ending a serious relationship -- whether a marriage or a common law union -- is never easy. Family law in Alberta paves the way for people going through divorce to take care of themselves and their children. When a breakup is imminent, there are a few things people should consider doing right away, and the first is to take care of themselves since a breakup can be emotionally exhausting.

There is such a thing as a healthy (or at least a healthier) divorce or separation. Although divorce can impact the entire family dynamic, the individuals involved should take some time to evaluate their health -- both mental and physical. Allowing honest communication is one way of accomplishing that. If children are involved, their safety and well-being is paramount; the law sees it this way as well.

When family law and estate planning law cross paths

There are certain instances when two separate entities under the law converge. Such might be the case when it comes to family law and estate planning law in British Columbia. In some cases, business owners may put an estate freeze on their estates and depending upon how this is set up, this could affect family law in the province. Estate freezes usually make it possible to exchange shares in a business that could appreciate in value with those that are fixed.

An estate freeze can be helpful for a business owner to defer taxes if he or she has a number of shares in a business. Family law comes into play should an estate freeze be in effect if a couple's marriage breaks down. It may make things complicated when it comes to the sharing of assets upon the dissolution of a marriage or relationship. If some of those shares were gifted to an estranged partner, many complexities can kick in and legal advice is crucial for both sides.

Teenagers and Divorce

Nuclear families have a tough time with teenagers – and it’s much the same with blended and single-parent families.

As teenagers go through this emotionally stressful period of their lives, they will make mistakes, and need their parents. Especially during a period of upheaval, such as a separation or divorce, it’s important to provide a network of strong support and guidance.

Parenting Plans: Living Arrangements and Afterschool Schedules.

As listed on the Government of Canada website, parenting plans “outline how parents will raise their children after separation or divorce”. While custody and access are also settled during divorce and separation proceedings, parenting plans are slightly different. They focus on how parents will communicate with each other and share specific responsibilities regarding their children.

As former spouses move on with their lives, they may have to interact with each other while their children grow up. It’s best to have a plan in place that allows an amicable way for both parties to “parent” their children with as much structure as possible.

Family law: Understanding issues around spousal support

Spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues when it comes to a couple separating or divorcing. British Columbia family law helps residents to figure out support payment amounts, who should be paying whom, when support should be paid and other issues associated with spousal support such as time limits to apply. The province has spousal support advisory guidelines to help residents figure out payment amounts and outlines the issues that could affect those payments.

A couple can agree to payments without involving family court. These payments should be outlined in either a formal separation agreement or in a divorce settlement. The agreements, however, should be filed with the court. Getting independent legal advice when coming to a support amount agreement may be the fairest way for both parties involved. 

Family law: Giving kids a voice in parenting coordination

When separated or divorced parents are having trouble with parenting plans that are in place, they have some recourse in the form of parenting coordination. Under family law, Alberta parents can utilize parenting coordinators to help them problem solve any issues they are having with parenting plans. Parenting coordination -- which is a part of alternative dispute resolution in the province -- uses various techniques to help parents and those can include education, mediation and negotiation.

Parenting coordinators try to help parents keep issues out of the courtroom. They will work with parents to ensure that the best interests of children come first. This form of alternative dispute resolution is becoming more popular thanks not only to its cost-effectiveness, but its success rate. In some instances, children are given a say in those issues that concern them, and in fact, it's one of their fundamental rights under the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child, which was ratified in Canada.

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

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