“The hardest thing about splitting up was that I didn’t have a job. I took care of the kids, the house, and the yard.
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Bill 16 has recently been introduced into the Provincial Legislature which proposes the introduction of the new Family Law Act. One of the dominant features of the new bill is how it changes the “best interests of the child” test in parenting decisions from the paramount consideration to the only consideration. The new Family Law Act created by the Bill could be in force as early as the Fall of 2012. In future entries we will be discussing how this new Act affects the law in British Columbia, and how it affects your family. Below we discuss a recent family law case which illustrates the confusion that can arise in the family law context as a result of a lack of specificity in drafting a court order.
In the case of Medina v. Pallett (2010) B.C.S.C. 259, the petitioner father Medina was Honduran and the respondent mother Pallett was Canadian. Together they had one child who was born in Honduras in 2005. The child was left in Honduras with the child’s grandparents while Medina and Pallett attempted to settle in Canada. By the Spring of 2008 Medina’s ability to remain in Canada remained uncertain. He therefore no longer wanted to bring the child to Canada. Pallett argued that Medina signed the child’s Canadian passport application and Medina denied doing so. Without giving notice to Medina, Pallett went to Honduras and removed the child and brought the child to Canada. Pallett then commenced divorce proceedings in Canada and sought custody of the child and child maintenance. Medina brought an application to have the child returned to Honduras.
Dubreuil v. Poloway, 2010 B.C.C.A. 297. In this case following a trial in 2001, the father was found to have a Guideline income for child support of $22,000 per year. The father was ordered to pay monthly child support in the amount of $328 per month with respect to the parties’ twin children and to pay the mother 40% of the daycare expenses. The arrears of child support at trial and expenses were fixed at $6,500. The father failed to comply with payment and did not file income tax returns for 2001 through 2007 until June of 2009. The father then applied to have his child support arrears reduced based on his actual income during the past several years. The child support arrears were $16,000. The Chambers Judge found in favour of reducing the arrears to $4,000.
Even here in the beautiful Fraser Valley, it can be challenging to find time to spend with your family. Any parent knows how fast kids can change from one day to the next. For those of us in a shared custody situation, or for those who have had to deal with a painful divorce or separation, it never seems like you can spend as much time with your children as you would like. In British Columbia, however, the Courts have decided that your obligation to support your children financially is just as important.
The British Columbia Supreme Court has released reasons in the case of Wilson v. Lougheed Estate. This was an action by Kelly Wilson for an order varying her mother Norma’s will in her favour pursuant to the Wills Variation Act. The executor of the will was Kelly’s adoptive father William Lougheed, and he made a counterclaim on behalf of the Estate against Kelly for unpaid loans made during Norma’s lifetime. The net worth of the estate was nearly $26 million.