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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

What's in a name?

The courts are not waiting for the legislature when it comes to the wording of orders.  Changes proposed in the White Paper on Family Relations Act Reform have not yet been adopted as law; however, in keeping with the report's recommendations, it is becoming more and more common for Judges and Masters to clarify that terms such as "Custody", "Guardianship" and "Access" should be avoided and replaced with "Parenting Time" and "Parental Responsibilities".  This is progress.  The words describing the relationship between parents and children are not merely reflective - they have a role in creating that relationship.  Children have a right to language which not only accurately describes the circumstances, but which supports and fosters a healthy environment.

Post-Secondary Education Costs

There can be a positive obligation on separated or divorced parents to support a child through post-secondary education if that cost is labelled an extraordinary expense pursuant to s.7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.  That section states that, Special or extraordinary expenses

Family Law Mediation

Henderson Heinrichs is committed to exploring all options to assist our clients reach successful resolution of their family law issues.   To that end, we are pleased to advise that we have certified Family Law Mediators at our firm who are trained to facilitate out of court settlement. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process for resolving family law issues, such as custody, access and child support. The mediator is jointly selected and retained by both parties.  Because of the need to maintain mediator neutrality, Henderson Heinrichs' existing litigation clients will be referred to other well regarded mediators.  Prior to engaging in the mediation process both parties are required to sign a mediation agreement whereby they commit to working out the issues without going to Court. Mediation at Henderson Heinrichs takes place in a private, informal setting where the parties actively participate in negotiations with a goal of reaching an agreement.

Investing in Divorce? Not here.

Sometimes a new idea comes along which reaffirms our faith in what we already have. company has been formed in California with the sole purpose of financing divorce litigation.  The firm justifies itself by suggesting that spouses of the ?ber-wealthy (the firm in question specializes in cases with assets valued north of $2 million) require financing to level the playing field.  Its altruism diminishes, however, when it comes to remuneration, treating the parties family problems as an investment.  The company is paid with a percentage of the 'winnings' on the completion of trial or on settlement. In BC, lawyers in divorce cases are prohibited from being paid on contingency; that is, by taking a percentage of money 'won'.  The parties' and the children's interests rather than the potential capital return should be the motivation for the parties' decisions. The prohibition against contingency billing removes the potential that lawyers will seek to serve their own interests by advocating litigation which that may not be in the interests of those involved.In regards to the involvement of third parties in the financing of litigation for profit, the common law in British Columbia maintains that this is improper.  Such investment in litigation, or champerty, is discussed more fully in Farley v. Pearlson, 2001 BCSC 1237.While there is always the potential for abuse within a system, B.C. has dealt specifically with the problem of for-profit litigation financing and it seems unlikely that similar investment schemes will appear any time soon in the province.

Fallout from a No-Show

Is there any difference between an order pronounced after a contested hearing and one ordered when one of the parties hasn't attended?  The order itself is equally valid and binding in each circumstance.  If the order is later challenged, however, differences emerge.  Rule 14-7(77) of the BC Family Rules provides that, "The court my set aside a verdict or judgment obtained if a party does not attend the trial"  The test for setting aside an order is generally held to be the test set out in  Miracle Feeds v. D&H Enterprises Ltd. 1979 CarswellBC 48, 10 BCLR 58 which provides that the party seeking to have the order set aside must show that:

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

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