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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

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.

Parenting plans a challenging part of family law

British Columbia parents may give little thought to how they manage the many tasks that come with parenting. They may even make last minute decisions for schedule changes during frantic mornings or through texts during the day. Parents who are separated, however, do not always have the luxury of being spontaneous with their plans. In fact, one of the most challenging elements of family law is devising a parenting plan that is both predictable and flexible.

A parenting plan is more than just a schedule of when each parent will have custody of the children. In addition to providing a fair division of parenting time, the plan can determine which parents will make decisions on important matters, such as the practice of religion and educational goals. A complete plan may also address issues like the exchange of belongings, communication between parents and limitations on travel.

Family law: Financial duties of unmarried parents to their kids

Having children, in most cases, is a life-long commitment. In any case, it is a financial commitment until they turn 18 years of age, even when the parents of the children were never married. In Alberta, family law stipulates that parents have the legal obligation to support their children and that includes financially. A parent has a financial duty to his or her child even if that parent doesn't play a role in raising the child or didn't wish to have a child at all.

There are grey areas in some situations such as financially supporting a child that is not related biologically. If the person had a role to play in raising that child, it could turn out that he or she may have to support the child financially. The nonbiological parent in an unmarried, same-sex couple situation may also be ordered to pay child support in some circumstances. 

Children's issues: Parental selfies help kids get through divorce

Selfies are an invention of the latter part of this decade. These photos posted on a myriad of social media sites can actually be a teaching tool when it comes to certain children's issues surrounding divorce -- like co-parenting. Selfies can show British Columbia residents that having an amicable divorce is, indeed, possible and that co-parenting children positively is also possible.

Statistics show that nearly five million Canadians have separated or divorced over the last two decades. About four in 10 of those couples had young children. Divorce brings with it many adjustments, especially for kids. But when they see their parents making an effort to get along -- which can be accomplished by posting on social media since most children are privy to these sites -- it may help them to get through some emotional times. 

Division of property: Who gets Fido or Fluffy after divorce?

Many people consider their pets to be part of the family. So when Alberta couples get divorced, there could be some nastiness about who gets to keep Fido or Fluffy when it comes time to discuss division of property. In the eyes of the law in Alberta, pets are considered to be property, but for many couples, they're also furry children. The Family Law Act entitles both spouses to equal rights when it pertains to family property, hence to their pets.

Many couples have sorted out the pet dilemma by choosing to have joint ownership of their pets -- whether they be dogs, cats or reptiles. Pets are likely loved by both individuals and it is in everyone's best interests to come to an amicable solution and not let the court decide. There are times, however, when litigation may be necessary.

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

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