Family Law Problems

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

For comprehensive coverage of family law problems, see JP Boyd on Family Law on Clicklaw Wikibooks.

Family issues are among the most common source of legal problems. Here are the first steps and some useful resources for people in BC facing the following types of family law issues:

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Most family issues — guardianship, parenting time, contact with a child, child and spousal support — can be dealt with in a special branch of Provincial Court called "Family Court." However, cases about divorce or family property must be dealt with in BC Supreme Court. Family Court procedures are simpler, quicker and less expensive than those in Supreme Court. Speak to a lawyer about the choice between Supreme Court and Family Court.
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A term under the Family Law Act which describes the time a guardian has with a child and during which is responsible for the day to day care of the child. See "guardian."

A term under the Family Law Act that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities."

A person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority."

Money paid by one spouse to another spouse either as a contribution toward the spouse's living expenses or to compensate the spouse for the economic consequences of decisions made by the spouses during their relationship.

A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a court proceeding. Small Claims Court, for example, cannot deal with claims larger than $25,000, and Family Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."

The legal termination of a valid marriage by an order of a judge; the ending of a marital relationship and the conjugal obligations of each spouse to the other. See "conjugal rights," "marriage," and "marriage, validity of."

A term under the Family Law Act referring to property acquired by either or both spouses during their relationship, as well as after separation if bought with family property. Both spouses are presumed to be equally entitled to share in family property. See "excluded property."

Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court" and "Supreme Court of Canada."

A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."

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