A fresh perspective on divorce, spousal support, child support, parenting after separation and everything family law

Live on CFAX…Real Parenting Interview

This Saturday (March 30, 2013) I will be interviewed on Real Parenting by Shirley Broback.

The interview will be focused on the Family Law Act provisions regarding parenting and the inclusion of children’s input into parenting arrangements.

Host of Real Parenting, Shirley Broback and proud mom of two little ones!

Shirley Broback is the host of Real Parenting and the proud mom of two little ones!

Check out the interview by tuning in: C-FAX 1070 Saturday at 12-1pm PT!

Divorce Cat: sometimes you just need a joke

People have started posting family law related articles and news on my Facebook wall (keep them coming!).

Recently my friend Meghan Russ (who works as a legal assistant at the family law firm of Cochard Johnson in Edmonton) sent me something that made me smile:

Divorce Cat

Divorce Cat

Family Law Act: spouse defined

Much has been written about the new Family Law Act‘s definition of the term spouse. Lots of people ask me about the term as well. How long do you have to live together to be a spouse? When does a relationship begin? When does a relationship end?

Here is what the statute has to say:

Spouses and relationships between spouses

3 (1) A person is a spouse for the purposes of this Act if the person

(a) is married to another person, or
(b) has lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship, and
(i) has done so for a continuous period of at least 2 years, or
(ii) except in Parts 5 [Property Division] and 6 [Pension Division], has a child with the other person.

(2) A spouse includes a former spouse.

(3) A relationship between spouses begins on the earlier of the following:
(a) the date on which they began to live together in a marriage-like relationship;
(b) the date of their marriage.

(4) For the purposes of this Act,
(a) spouses may be separated despite continuing to live in the same residence, and
(b) the court may consider, as evidence of separation,
(i) communication, by one spouse to the other spouse, of an intention to separate permanently, and
(ii) an action, taken by a spouse, that demonstrates the spouse’s intention to separate permanently.

Basically if you have lived with someone in a “marriage-like relationship” for a continuous period of two years you are a spouse of that person.

No wedding, no problem... you still have an equal opportunity to annoy your spouse... Photo Credit: C.P.Storm

No wedding, no problem… you still have an equal opportunity to annoy your spouse…
Photo Credit: C.P.Storm

Additionally, if you have a child with a person (but have not lived together for two years) you are a spouse except for the purposes of property division and pension division.

What is a marriage like relationship? There is no exact definition. However, if you are anything more than platonic roommates you should consider getting legal advice about the status of your relationship – there have been many court cases looking at different factors of couple’s living arrangements to try an determine if they are “marriage like”.

Family Law Act: article in Victoria News

Earlier this week Daniel Palmer of Victoria News interviewed me on the topic of the new Family Law Act.

The new B.C. Family Law Act provides sweeping changes that will affect many of the 15,000 cohabiting couples in the Capital Region and more than 160,000 couples in the province.

“If you have lived in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, the law now considers you a spouse,” said Christine Murray, a partner at Victoria-based Cassels-Murray Family and Estates Law.

For the first time, common-law couples are subject to the same legal rights and responsibilities of married couples.

If a couple separates, any gains in assets or debt incurred during the relationship are now split down the middle, regardless of which partner owns them.

“That property includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, generally anything with value owned by one or both spouses at the date of separation,” Murray said.

Property acquired before the relationship began, as well as gifts, inheritances and damage awards will still be protected from equal division.

“If it is a couple’s intention to keep their property separate, they’ll have to enter into a written agreement to make sure they can have their intentions carried throughout their relationship,” Murray said.

Some questions, such as whether or not both partners are responsible for the depreciation value of a home, will have to play out in court, she added. It could also be difficult to prove when a relationship began, as Kreisler and her partner illustrate with their roommate-to-romance situation.

“It’s not a clear-cut, black-and-white test,” Murray said.

Check out the full text of the article online here or in today’s paper.