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Vancouver Family Law Blog

Children's issues: When is it OK to leave a child unattended?

Some children like to assert their independence at an early age. That doesn't mean parents should leave them unsupervised. Some kids in British Columbia are known as latchkey kids, but when it comes to children's issues, the law is clear about when children can be left unsupervised and what they can do when they are left alone. 

Parents should familiarize themselves with the laws in the province that speak to children's issues like these. In British Columbia, a child is defined as someone who is 16 years of age or younger. Although there are no hard rules in place, most social service agencies suggest that no child under 12 should be left home alone. As for leaving children at home with older children, some kids start babysitting at the age of 12, although much depends on the maturity level of the child. 

Children's issues: Abuse cases expected to rise amid pandemic

There is nothing more important than the welfare of a child. Amid a worldwide pandemic now taking place, the local area is more mindful of children's issues and agencies acting as watchdogs for kids are bracing for increased incidents of abuse as they reduce services and the numbers of employees who work these cases. The government has advised people to stay at home and schools are also closed, and for some children being at home all the time is not safe or healthy.

Self-isolation for some children is incredibly difficult. Everyone is in the same space at the same time and many kids don't take kindly to changes in routine. The whole situation is stressful for all concerned, but add to that abuse issues and the situation could be extremely volatile. 

Family law: Co-parenting effectively after divorce

Couples who decide to divorce likely have had issues with communicating. However, couples who are parents and who are divorcing need to come together to discuss those issues that will affect their children. Thankfully, there are co-parenting tips under family law that may help parents to agree to do what's in the best interests of their kids.

There are ways to co-parent positively and doing so will bode well for the children in a number of ways. Keeping things out of a courtroom (or avoiding litigation) is a goal to which all separating and divorcing parents should aspire. Collaboration is a much better way of keeping hold of control regarding issues that affect a divorcing couple's children. By being respectful toward each other, parents may be able to fashion a co-parenting plan that meets the needs of everyone -- especially of the kids. 

Family law agreements reduce conflict when relationships end

When preparing to get married, you make many business deals. You sign contracts for the caterer and the florist. You may negotiate with a photographer and the musicians. In the end, you and your spouse sign a licence to signify your legal bond. It might not seem romantic to think of your marriage as a business arrangement, but in a way, that's what it is.

The time when that feels truest is when the marriage is ending in divorce. While the focus at the beginning of the relationship may be love and romance, at the end it is property and rights. Unfortunately, at a time when you must be making critical decisions, you are likely dealing with overwhelming emotions. This is why it is a wise idea to consider a marriage contract (perhaps better known as a "prenuptial agreement" or "prenup").

Family law: Divorce can actually be a positive move forward

Divorce doesn't have to mean the end of a family. Family law has changed over the years and in the 21st century the family dynamic looks much different than it did decades ago. Former spouses in British Columbia who are parents can still maintain a bond with their children that includes spending holidays together and doing family things with their kids -- if they choose to maintain a civil relationship. 

In fact, it is much more healthy for the children when their parents can remain cordial with each other, if not best friends. Some experts -- including lawyers -- say that divorce can be healthier for children than living in a household in which their parents are always fighting and in agony. Things may actually become better for all concerned when a couple divorces. 

Division of property: Wife shares pension despite bankruptcy

Separating couples have a lot to sort out. One of the issues that is on the table when a couple decides the marriage has come to an end is the division of property. But it can get a little tricky in British Columbia if one of the spouses declares personal bankruptcy after having separated. Pensions are usually considered during the divorce or separation.

Pensions, however, usually don't figure into bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, but what happens to pension funds if one spouse has declared bankruptcy depends on where the couple lives. Recently, a wife asked for an unequal division of the property shared with her husband, and the major asset was the husband's pension. Shortly afterward, the husband declared bankruptcy. A judge of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench had to decide if the wife could pursue her claim against her husband's pension, giving consideration to Alberta's family property legislation.

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

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