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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Family law: Some frequent flyer parents tying up family court

Parents who have the need to appear in family court for many issues are often referred to as frequent flyers. When it comes to children's issues in British Columbia, rules are instated under family law. Parents who want the court to intervene in the smallest details often take up valuable court time, which could be a problem for those parents who have more serious issues to iron out. 

Going to court to figure out if little Sally should take ballet lessons or if little Johnny should play soccer reduces available court time for issues that are really pressing like alleged parental abuse or parental alienation situations. When parents have joint custody of their children, there may be more insignificant points upon which they don't agree. These issues would be better worked out by other means, such as through mediation or via a parent coordinator.

Alberta family law: When it's all in a name

Decades ago, it was a given that, when a couple married, the wife would take her husband's last name. Fast forward to the 21st century, and that is not always the case with Alberta couples. Issues attached to marriage in the province fall under family law, and those include name changes. Women don't always change their surnames once married. Sometimes, a man takes his wife's surname, or the couple takes on a different name together, but whatever the case, they have to adhere to the rules.

People who choose to change their names after getting married must also have their identification changed. These are things like a driver's licence, provincial health card and other things like credit cards. Institutions will want to see the marriage licence before making any changes. In Alberta, an individual's name won't change on a birth certificate after the person marries.

Family law: Varying a child support order in British Columbia

When the need arises to make changes to child support payments, either the payor or the payee can ask for a support order to be varied. Under family law in British Columbia, the term variation is used when an increase or a decrease in child support payments is requested. A request to vary a support payment can be formally made when there is a change in life circumstances such as an increase or a decrease in parents' income, a change in parenting agreements or when the child turns 19 years of age.

When parents agree on those changes, they will have to update the current agreement in writing or create a new agreement. To make changes to a formal child support order, the request will have to be made in the same court that created the original order. If parents don't agree on the changes, an application can be made to the court that made the order in the first place and ask that court to grant a variance.

Alberta family law: Differences between separtion and annulment

When couples make the decision to end their relationships, they have a few choices regarding how to do that under the law. In Alberta, as in the rest of the country, those who are married can choose to separate or to divorce, while those living together can choose to separate. Under family law in the province, there is also the option of annulling a marriage under specified circumstances.

In Alberta, an interdependent adult relationship is defined as living together for three years, or less than three years if an agreement has been signed. It also could be less than three years if the couple has a child. Under the law, the relationship is deemed to have ended when a couple has no longer lived together for one or more years. Couples can choose to end the relationship with a formal separation agreement that spells out things like child support, child custody and spousal support.

Children's issues: What's in a name?

If parents believe they can give their child any name they want, they may be sadly mistaken. Most parents give their children more traditional names, but there are some who may want to give their kids more unique monikers. As far as names go regarding children's issues, the law in British Columbia gives parents a guideline under the Vital Statistics Act when deciding on what to name their kids.

These laws fall under provincial jurisdiction and provinces and territories are responsible for registering children's births and names. In some cases, if the government finds the name to be too unusual, it will ask parents to choose another option. In British Columbia, a court may intervene if it believes a chosen name is not likely to be in the best interests of the child. In other words, if the name appears to be offensive or restricting and could potentially cause the child undue stress, parents may have to pick another name.

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


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