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

Fertility Law BC

Congratulations to barbara findlay, Q.C., Monique Shebbeare, Lynda Cassels, Michelle Kinney and Zara Suleman on launching the Fertility Law BC website.

If everything you know about surrogacy is limited to Baby Mama the movie, and you are interested in learning more, you MUST check out this website – it is a wealth of information.

The site is an easy to use resource for fertility law in British Columbia and Canada including sperm donation, egg and embryo donation and surrogacy.

The text is straightforward and provides practical and accurate information: it breaks things down to the basis:

Let’s start with the lay of the land. From the point of view of BC law, assisted reproduction is such things as:

Getting pregnant using home insemination with a friend as the sperm donor
In vitro fertilization (IVF), where conception of the embryo takes place in a lab and the embryo is then transferred to a woman’s uterus
Artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination/IUI) with a spouse’s sperm to increase the change of pregnancy
Having a child with the help of a surrogate who will carry the fetus until birth
Conceiving a child with the help of donated sperm, eggs or embryos
Assisted reproduction is not sexual intercourse. In fact, BC’s Family Law Act specifically defines assisted reproduction as “a method of conceiving a child other than by sexual intercourse”.

Many different people use assisted reproduction: same-sex couples, heterosexual couples, single people wanting to parent, and couples where a partner is transgender.

There are both federal and provincial laws about assisted reproduction. The federal laws essentially focus on the ethics and safety of assisted reproduction: what we are and are not allowed to do in Canada. Provincial law focuses more on parentage: who the legal parents are of the children born using assisted reproduction. And of course there are other laws and regulations governing the professionals and clinics who provide assisted reproduction services.

Additionally, the Fertility Law BC lawyers will be presenting at Continuing Legal Education Course “Baby Making: Fertility Law and Assisted Reproductive Technologies” on April 8, 2016 at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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: guide to the new Family Law Act

Most family law lawyers in British Columbia (including this one) spent the last two days engaged in the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC course: The Family Law Act: Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask.

If you are looking for a “Coles Notes” version of the new legislation, there is a very easy to read publication online: the Guide to the New BC Family Law Act.   The guide is currently available in English, French, Chinese, Spanish and Punjabi.

Of course, just like the Coles Notes for Macbeth, you are going to miss out on some great stuff by skipping out on the full text…the full version of the Family Law Act is available online.

 

 

Family Law Act: March 18, 2013

I am looking forward to lots of things in 2013…for example:

The Family Law Act is coming into force on March 18, 2012 – it has just been announced.  The new legislation will substantially change family law in British Columbia and it will replace the Family Relations Act.

Hello Family Law Act, Goodbye Family Relations Act: upcoming in 2012 and 2013

In the next (approximately) 12-18 months the new Family Law Act will come into force, replacing the Family Relations Act…The Family Law Act was passed in British  Columbia’s legislature on November 23, 2011 and it received Royal Assent on November 24, 2011.  There were some changes that came into effect on November 24, 2011 including the repeal of the obligation to support parents (Section 90 of the Family Relations Act), the repeal of provisions regarding property agreements (section 120.1) and changes to a number of BC acts to use the gender neutral terms when discussing spouses.

The provision regarding parental support was in the news last year when a BC woman sued her adult children for support.