COMMON QUESTIONS

How Much Will It Cost?

This is a question most lawyers get asked frequently. There are different approaches to billing for legal services including: hourly fees; flat fees; contingency; and value-added fees. The most common form of billing is hourly [...]

My ex-partner is trying to kick me out of our house.

It is usually not a good idea to leave the matrimonial home until you have met with a lawyer and understand your rights and obligations with respect to staying or going. On the other hand, [...]

How do I get my Partner (or my Child’s Partner) to Sign a Prenup or Cohabitation Agreement?

Given the changes in the law in BC, a good cohabitation agreement (also referred to as a “cohab”) can reduce or eliminate disputes on separation. The cohab should deal with (a) who owns/owes what at [...]

Do I have to support children over 19 years old?

Section 3(2) of the FCSG provides that if the child is over 19 but still a “child of the marriage” in need of support: (a) the amount determined by applying the Guidelines as if the [...]

My ex-partner is hiding/spending assets.

Section 19(1) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (FCSG) permits the court to impute income if it appears that income has been diverted and that diversion affects the level of support payable under the FCSG, and/or [...]

I want to keep my pet if we split up.

The case Haywood v. Carrasco 2016 BCPC 71 reflects the state of the law pertaining to the “custody” of pets. When the common-law couple split up, they shared the dog, Kali, until one occasion, while [...]

I do not want to pay my partner’s debts if we split up.

The starting point for division of debt under the Family Law Act (FLA) is s. 81, which provides that spouses are both responsible for family debt, regardless of their respective use or contribution, and that on separation, each [...]

I do not want to share my money/business/property with my spouse/common law partner if we split up.

There are four basic ways you may not have to share your property if you split up with your spouse or common-law spouse. Excluded Property: The Family Law Act, which came into force in March [...]

There is an order from the court that I am not happy about.

If the court has made an order that you are unhappy about, you must make arrangements to apply to the court of have the order varied, set aside or appealed. You must not simply ignore [...]

I am not seeing my children.

Under s. 37 of the FLA, parenting issues must be determined based only on what is in the best interests of the children. Section 37 states: “In making an agreement or order […] respecting guardianship, parenting [...]

I am not paying/receiving child support.

In S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.), 2006 SCC 37, the Supreme Court of Canada outlined the basic principles that create the obligation to pay child support as follows: (1) child support is the right of the child; (2) the right [...]

What if the documents I need are not provided?

Under Rule 5-1(28), if a party fails to provide documents as required, the other party can bring an application and the court can order that the documents are produced on terms (for example by a [...]

What documents need to be provided?

Rule 5-1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules provides the framework for financial disclosure. When support is in issue, one or both parties must complete a Form 8 financial statement and provide copies of the required income [...]

How do I get a settlement?

If both parties want a settlement without a judge deciding for them, they must find a way to agree. First, it is helpful to know exactly what issues are agreed and which are not. For [...]

Do I have to go to court?

There are alternatives to going to court. Negotiation, mediation, arbitration and/or a collaborative law approach can enable the couple to resolve their separation or divorce issues without stepping foot in court. Ultimately you will need [...]

I think my partner will be angry if I see a lawyer.

Section 183(2) of the FLA authorizes the court to make a protection order if family violence is likely to occur (or reoccur). Section 184(1) obliges the court to consider the following risk-factors: (a) any history of family [...]

Will we share the children 50-50?

Upon or even before separation, parents should reach agreements regarding future parenting arrangements. Usually, a shared parenting arrangement is in the best interests of the child. With respect to parenting time and parenting responsibilities (also [...]

How do I find out his/her income for support purposes?

When determining income for support (including spousal support) purposes the starting point is s. 16 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. A spouse’s income is first examined by way of his or her line 150 [...]

How much interim child and/or spousal support should I pay/receive?

Pursuant to s. 3 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the amount of a child support payable (for a child under 19) is the amount set out in the applicable table for the income of the [...]

When do I receive/pay interim child and/or spousal support?

With respect to child support (permanent and interim), both parents have an ongoing legal obligation to support their children. The objectives of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (FCSG), are: (a) to establish a fair standard [...]

Who stays in the house?

Pursuant to s. 90 of the Family Relations Act, the court can order that one spouse may have “exclusive occupation” of the family residence. The test applied by the court is two-fold: (i) first the [...]

Is family property and debt divided equally?

Either spouse may ask the court to “reapportion” one or more assets into his or her favour, for example, from 50-50% to 75-25%. On such application, the court will consider whether 50-50% would be “significantly [...]

What is family property and debt?

“Family property” is all property that is owned by (or a beneficial interest in it is held by) at least one spouse on the date of separation, unless the property falls within the definition of “excluded property” (set out [...]