Do Stepparents Have to Pay Child Support?

Family walking on path

Child support is the right of the child and ought not to be bargained away by parents.  However, there are some unique rules for stepparents.  Under Part 7 of the Family Law Act, a stepparent (defined in section 146) is liable for support of a stepchild if: the person is a spouse of the child’s parent, the person has lived … Read More

Family Violence Part Two: Red Flags

Woman looking at sunset

In Part One, we summarized the broad definition of family violence in the context of separation and divorce.  It is critical to understand that during the tumultuous time of separation, family violence can escalate, or even begin for the first time. The Duluth Model ( is a program developed to reduce domestic violence against women.  Its Power and Control Wheel … Read More

Family Violence Part One: What Is It?

Family violence

Family Violence. Domestic Abuse. Intimate Partner Violence.  Despite the many terms used, the effect is the same: harm caused by someone who ought to have been a safe place. The three most common types of this abuse are: (1)          psychological violence, which is abuse targeted at a person’s emotional, mental or financial well-being or intended to impede their personal freedom … Read More

When Are Spouses Separated?

Spouses separating

When couples separate, determining a “date of separation” is required to establish a year of separation as grounds for divorce, or an entitlement date for pension division, among other things. The Divorce Act, section 8, sets out the conditions for a separation where the grounds for divorce are one year of separation. One of the spouses must have an intention … Read More

Considering the Needs of the Children in Family Law Cases

Three toddlers eating at pink table

You have probably heard the expression, “Children do not come with a manual.” Clarity about what to do with the children during a family crisis, such as a divorce, becomes especially critical as the decisions made today will affect the children for the rest of their lives. When the separation process involves children, decisions are guided by the best interests … Read More

What is C.A.L.M. Anyways?

The Collaborative Association of the Lower Mainland, known as C.A.L.M., is a collaborative practice group for lawyers, mental health professionals and financial advisors who are trained in collaborative divorce and serving the needs of families and individuals in communities in the Lower Mainland.  Collaborative Divorce started when an American lawyer named Stu Webb had a simple idea: agree to no … Read More