Are you married to your spouse, or do you live in a common law relationship? In British Columbia, the answer to that question largely determines the property rights and financial rights of parties when their relationship breaks down. For married spouses, comprehensive statutes such as the federal Divorce Act and the provincial Family Relations Actprovide the starting point for division of property and other issues.
Tag: family relations act
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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.
Commencing in 2006 the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General has been formulating a new Family Law Act to replace the present Family Relations Act. The proposed new legislation introduces sweeping changes to issues of child custody and guardianship, property division and spousal support, among other issues.
Whether the proposed new legislation will be passed into law remains to be seen. However, at present, it appears as though there is at least a realistic possibility that sweeping changes to family law in British Columbia of the nature proposed in the new Family Law Act will come into force in the coming years.
On March 18, 2013, BC’s new Family Law Act (the “Act”) came into force replacing theFamily Relations Act (the “FRA”). In the three months since enactment there have been few cases that have been decided solely under the new Act but in the recent decision of G.(L.) v. G.(R.), Brown J. had the opportunity to consider the change in standards in determining the division of property from the FRA to the new Act.