People who are preparing to marry or those who are already married in British Columbia may want to consider completing an agreement that governs how any possible separation or divorce will be handled. Such agreements may be helpful in preventing litigation while providing a fair settlement for both spouses in the event of a marital breakdown.
Without an agreement, such things as the division of assets, spousal support and responsibility for debts may be up to the court, if litigation is involved. If the couple has an agreement in place, the need for litigation may be obviated, allowing both to move on with their lives following their divorce.
Couples may agree to such things as who will own what property after a divorce, how debts will be handled, how much money each spouse will contribute to the marriage and whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce. In order for such an agreement to be deemed valid, both spouses will need to exchange complete and accurate financial information with the other. They will both need to sign the agreement, and if spousal support is included as part of the agreement, a witness will also be required. Following a separation, a couple may also reach an agreement in order to fully settle their divorce in the absence of a previously issued one.
When a couple decides to divorce, they may decide that the best approach is to reach a settlement that is fair to both. The collaborative law method allows spouses the ability to sit down together with their lawyers in order to reach such an agreement. People who are in that position may want to consult with a collaborative law lawyer. This method of alternative dispute resolution may allow spouses to maintain more control over their divorce.
Parents or guardians of a child in British Columbia who share custody with another individual cannot just move to another area without giving written notice 60 days in advance. This is the case even if the individual plans to move only themselves or only the child. There are a few special circumstances in which this does not apply; for example, if there is a threat of violence to the child or guardian, notice is not required.
The people who have been given notice, then have the opportunity to object to the move. The individuals may try to work out an agreement, but if they cannot, the person who is objecting to the move might file for a court order. The court will then decide whether the guardian or child can relocate. It will weigh a number of factors in making this decision, including the effect on the child’s quality of life, the reasons for the move, how it will affect the child’s relationships with others and the child’s best interests.
Some suggest that the relocating party discuss moving plans with others affected by the action well before the move is finalized. This may help reduce or eliminate conflict, and custody arrangements can be renegotiated in a more amicable atmosphere.
For parents or guardians of children who are dealing with a move, approaching the situation with a collaborative law perspective may lead to better solutions. Lawyers may be able to assist in negotiating new agreements around custody and visitation that allow one parent to take advantage of an educational or job opportunity in a new area while still maintaining good relations with the other parent.
If you are going through a divorce in British Columbia, you may believe that your case is destined to linger on for months while you wait through numerous contested court hearings. While cases that proceed through the litigation process may indeed drag on over long periods, you may want to consider a divorce alternative such as arbitration for a quicker resolution to your case.
The key benefit to arbitration over family law litigation is that the process is generally much quicker, thus saving the time and expense associated with the slower court litigation process. Arbitration is still adversarial in nature, meaning you and your spouse will still present your respective arguments to a third party. The third party’s decision will be a final one just like a judge’s would be. Unlike court, in which your case would be assigned to a judge, you are able to choose the arbitrator who will hear your case, and the proceeding is also confidential in nature.
Mediation is another alternative to both litigation and arbitration that may be a better choice for some. In mediation, a neutral third party acts as a facilitator to help the two sides reach an agreement. Unlike arbitration, a mediator does not rule on the case, and if an agreement is not reached, you can still proceed to court on any outstanding and unresolved issues.
We have arbitrators who hear cases and lawyers who represent people through arbitration on our staff. We help people who have family law issues by arbitrating cases, and our arbitrators work to help quickly resolve disputes while remaining fair and impartial. Our lawyers zealously advocate on behalf of their clients through both arbitration and litigation proceedings. For more information, you may want to review our page on arbitration.