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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Even court-ordered child support is not set in stone

The laws of Alberta and other provinces recognize the duty of parents to support and provide for their children. Whether you and the other parent were married or never even lived together, you are both responsible to provide the child with the financial support that allows the child to maintain a standard of living comparable to that he or she would enjoy if both parents were in the home.

It is possible that you and your ex-partner worked out an agreement for support payments. However, unless the agreement is in writing, you may have little legal ground to stand on if a dispute arises. On the other hand, if you have a court approved support agreement, you may be wondering if you would ever have the right to change the amount of support.

Family law: The first things to do when divorce is on the horizon

Ending a serious relationship -- whether a marriage or a common law union -- is never easy. Family law in Alberta paves the way for people going through divorce to take care of themselves and their children. When a breakup is imminent, there are a few things people should consider doing right away, and the first is to take care of themselves since a breakup can be emotionally exhausting.

There is such a thing as a healthy (or at least a healthier) divorce or separation. Although divorce can impact the entire family dynamic, the individuals involved should take some time to evaluate their health -- both mental and physical. Allowing honest communication is one way of accomplishing that. If children are involved, their safety and well-being is paramount; the law sees it this way as well.

When family law and estate planning law cross paths

There are certain instances when two separate entities under the law converge. Such might be the case when it comes to family law and estate planning law in British Columbia. In some cases, business owners may put an estate freeze on their estates and depending upon how this is set up, this could affect family law in the province. Estate freezes usually make it possible to exchange shares in a business that could appreciate in value with those that are fixed.

An estate freeze can be helpful for a business owner to defer taxes if he or she has a number of shares in a business. Family law comes into play should an estate freeze be in effect if a couple's marriage breaks down. It may make things complicated when it comes to the sharing of assets upon the dissolution of a marriage or relationship. If some of those shares were gifted to an estranged partner, many complexities can kick in and legal advice is crucial for both sides.

Teenagers and Divorce

Nuclear families have a tough time with teenagers – and it’s much the same with blended and single-parent families.

As teenagers go through this emotionally stressful period of their lives, they will make mistakes, and need their parents. Especially during a period of upheaval, such as a separation or divorce, it’s important to provide a network of strong support and guidance.

Parenting Plans: Living Arrangements and Afterschool Schedules.

As listed on the Government of Canada website, parenting plans “outline how parents will raise their children after separation or divorce”. While custody and access are also settled during divorce and separation proceedings, parenting plans are slightly different. They focus on how parents will communicate with each other and share specific responsibilities regarding their children.

As former spouses move on with their lives, they may have to interact with each other while their children grow up. It’s best to have a plan in place that allows an amicable way for both parties to “parent” their children with as much structure as possible.

Family law: Understanding issues around spousal support

Spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues when it comes to a couple separating or divorcing. British Columbia family law helps residents to figure out support payment amounts, who should be paying whom, when support should be paid and other issues associated with spousal support such as time limits to apply. The province has spousal support advisory guidelines to help residents figure out payment amounts and outlines the issues that could affect those payments.

A couple can agree to payments without involving family court. These payments should be outlined in either a formal separation agreement or in a divorce settlement. The agreements, however, should be filed with the court. Getting independent legal advice when coming to a support amount agreement may be the fairest way for both parties involved. 

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

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