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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Family law: Helping autistic children through the divorce process

Divorce can be especially difficult on children. Under British Columbia family law, the best interests of children are always at the forefront. Children with special needs -- like those with autism -- may need more help to cope with their parents' divorce. Finding a mental health professional who has experience with children and autism may be helpful to the child, his or her parents and other family members.

Experts says how the parents behave around their children during the divorce process has a significant impact on the children, especially those who may have a harder time processing what is actually happening -- like children impacted by autism. Allowing the child to express his or her emotions and to ask questions that are answered with care and concern may help the situation. The needs of children with autism may be heightened during times of stress and anxiety, so it is important to be in touch with a child's needs during this time.

Children's issues: An unwilling father and child support

Men who have become unwilling fathers may still be on the hook for child support payments. Alberta has definitive laws when it comes to children's issues and one of those has to do with supporting children financially and emotionally. Even when a man doesn't want to become a father, he may have to support his child financially if it is in the best interests of the child.

Even when a man claims his partner told him she was using birth control or that he didn't want a child or that the woman told him she couldn't conceive, a family law judge may rule that he has to support the child he may claim was thrust upon him. One senior family court judge in the country has gone on record as saying that when parties have sex that they do so with the understanding that a pregnancy could occur, even if it is deemed unlikely. In other words, those who play may end up having to pay.

Your options for the family home during a breakup

Owning a home may be the dream of many in British Columbia. For couples in love, a home is a place they can make their own. They may plan for their home to be the place where they raise their families, welcome grandchildren and grow old together. These may have been your dreams, too. However, if your relationship is in trouble, the home where you live together may be another heavy task to deal with.

Whether you are married or living in a common-law relationship, you have many things to consider when that relationship ends. Among those is what to do with the house. While the solution may seem simple, it is important to understand all the financial and legal ramifications of any choice you make.

Family law: Self-representation could be harder on the pocketbook

For those who think they want to go it alone in court when it comes to issues pertaining to family, they might want to rethink their stance. Family law litigation cases in Alberta can be extremely complex and individuals who are bent on self-representation, believing it can save them money, may be sorely misguided. Statistics show that representing oneself in family court can actually cost more than having experienced legal counsel.

When a litigant has the resources to hire a lawyer, but chooses to represent him or herself in family court, the cost could be much higher financially and emotionally -- especially in cases that are drawn out over years. Many things could backfire in a family court for someone who chooses self-representation. More judges have been quick to be critical of those who choose self-representation as a hopeful tactical measure even when they have the means to hire a lawyer.

Family law: Stepparenting children in British Columbia

Stepparents may have a number of issues that comes with parenting children that are not biologically their own. Stepparents have been given a negative stereotype in the past, but most wish to become positive role models for their stepchildren and British Columbia family law gives them the tools with which to do so. It is incumbent upon a parent and a stepparent to always do what is in the best interests of a child -- even when a stepparent separates from or divorces the biological parent of a child.

It may be difficult at first for children to adapt to being a part of a blended family. But when a couple parents the children as a team, the kids may find it easier to adapt to their new lives. Even in the best of circumstances, some children may have difficulty adjusting no matter what their ages are and can be critical of a stepparent. Not taking that criticism personally will go a long way to helping children adjust. 

Children's issues: When parental fighting affects kids adversely

Many children are like little sponges, and they soak up the energy in their environments whether that energy is positive or negative. When parents are divorcing, there could be a lot of fighting going on between parents, and that has a bearing on their children. When it comes to children's issues in British Columbia, parents need to realize how they act toward each other -- if they're continually fighting -- as it may affect their children in ways that could do emotional damage.

High-conflict marriages affect children for a number of reasons, one of which includes the unpleasant overall environment it creates. Depending upon the age of the child, he or she can still be emotionally immature. Parental fighting sets a poor example, and these fights may actually affect the relationships children have with their parents.

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


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