FAMILY LAW

Divorce, child custody, support, and even adoption require a form of legal guidance that is equal parts compassion and determination. The breakdown of a relationship creates turmoil and confusion for all parties involved—spouses, parents, children and extended family members. McQuarrie represents clients dealing with the complex issues that arise in family law cases.

Family Law Experience

McQuarrie LLP’s family lawyers in Surrey have broad experience in:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Division of assets for married, common law and same sex couples
  • Child and spousal support
  • Child custody, guardianship and access
  • Mobility applications (the right to move where children are involved)
  • Restraining/protection orders with respect to the person and assets
  • Adoption
  • Child removal/apprehension
  • Marriage, cohabitation, prenuptial and separation agreements

Our family law litigators are ready to assist you with enforcing any past agreements or judgements.

Schedule a Family Law Consultation Today

Initiating these cases can be very stressful, but it’s important that you get started as soon as possible if you suspect you may need to file a legal challenge in the future. We start with an objective and pragmatic review of your rights and obligations with respect to your position. From there, we review your goals and preferred outcomes and help you develop an appropriate strategy for negotiation, mediation and, if necessary, litigation.

If you’re interested in learning more about Canadian family laws, we’ve provided more information on common issues in the sections below. If you have any additional questions about how the Canadian Family Law Act may affect your case, please contact us to request a consultation.

The new Family Law Act was passed on March 18th 2013. The primary goals of the law are to better protect the safety and interests of children, and to clarify parental responsibilities and the division of assets during separations and divorces. The bill also addresses issues of family violence and encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution.

Below, you can find some summaries of the law and how it applies to children and property. If you’re looking for general information about separations, you can learn more about our separation services.

Property Divisions

Under the BC Family Law Act, there are provisions that indicate that select forms of property will no longer be divided between divorcing parties, whether married or under common law. Examples of property that might be excluded from the division of assets include pre-relationship property and property that is inherited.

The Family Law Act has also redefined the term “Family Property” to include all property owned by one or both spouses at the date of separation (unless otherwise excluded). If the property is excluded, then only the increase in the value of the asset over the course of the relationship can be divided.

Whether an asset is used for a family purpose is not relevant in deciding if that asset is family property.

Child Custody

The Family Law Act was written with the objective of facilitating a parent’s continued involvement in the lives of their children. To reach this goal, the Family Law Act has either created or more adequately embraced a range of remedies and tools to address issues of non-compliance.

Some of the tools that the Family Law Act has embraced include:

  • Family dispute resolution and counseling
  • If the other parent is unable to fulfill their custody obligations, the act supports the reimbursement of expenses such as travel, childcare, and lost wages.

Protecting the Interests of Children

A major goal of the Family Law Act is to make sure that the interests of children are properly protected. Under the Act, decisions that affect a child’s well being now must be considered solely on the basis of what would be in the best interest of that child. The Family Law Act has also expanded the criteria of the “best interests of the child test” to better protect the safety of children. Some of the new criteria include:

  • The impact of family violence on a child’s safety, security or well-being
  • Any civil or criminal proceedings relevant to the child’s safety and well-being
  • The child’s history of care
  • The child’s views

Determining Parentage

The most significant change brought about by the new Family Law Act is the establishment of a much-needed framework to determine a child’s legal parents. This framework is inclusive of modern parenthood and provides guidance in those instances where assisted reproduction has been used.

For more information on the new Family Law Act and how it relates to your legal situation, please contact the family law lawyers at McQuarrie.

Family Violence & Protection Orders

Family violence is an issue that the Family Law Act has decided to address head on. One of the major points of difference that separates the new act from the old is the defining of the term “family violence.” By establishing an agreed upon definition of what can be considered “family violence”, the Family Law Act makes it easier for family law litigators and the courts to address this critical issue.

The Family Law Act has also created a new type of order – a protection order – that replaces the former Family Relations Act’s restraining orders. Similar to a restraining order, protection orders are put in place to limit contact and communication between family members in instances where an individual’s personal safety is threatened.

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