Top rated family law attorney in British Columbia
Domestic relations, including marriage, marriage-like relationships, and arrangements involving children all fall under the family law category. When the parties are having a hard time arriving at a consensus or are confused about their rights lawyers are often required.
At Thomas and Associates, our experienced family law lawyers are dedicated to keeping our client’s rights intact while arriving at the most advantageous result tailored to meet personal circumstances.
We strive for our clients to reach agreements without the costly and time-consuming process of going to trial. Other times, when mediation and negotiation do not work our experienced family law attorneys will aim to obtain the best possible result through the litigation process, which may involve a trial.
What is the Family Law Act in BC?
The Family Law Act replaced the Family Relations Act on March 18, 2013. Family Law in Vancouver BC recognizes that a child’s best interest is the most important part in the decision-making process when it comes to separation and divorce. The Family Law Act explains major parental responsibilities and family violence, as well as sets guidelines on how to share the assets post-separation. Most importantly, the Family Law Act advocates keeping family disputes out of court and promotes resorting to the help of mediation and negotiation.
Making a child’s safety and well-being top priority in the decision-making process the Act takes into consideration the following:
- The history of the child’s care
- If family violence affects the child’s safety and well-being;
- The child’s independent opinion unless it is not admissible; and,
- Any past civil or criminal proceedings related to the child’s well-being.
Alternative solutions to litigation
Litigation is not only a costly and time-consuming process, but it can also be a source of a great deal of mental stress for both parties. To be able to preserve the relationship between the parties The Family Law Act strongly encourages using mediation, parenting coordination, and arbitration to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution. The parties’ needs are more likely to be heard and taken into consideration when the process does not involve the formalities and stress of litigation. It is in the best interest of a client to turn to a professional lawyer who understands the benefits of alternative dispute resolution.
Family violence explained
By defining family violence, enacting the risk factors present in cases involving violence and making a child’s well-being the top priority, The BC Family Law Act assists the court in dealing with family violence cases.
The Family Law Act in British Columbia introduced a mechanism called a protection order that places a restriction on making a contact with the child when his or her safety is at risk. Breach of a protection order now constitutes a criminal offense.
Ensuring the time with a child
The Family Law Act identifies consequences that may be imposed if a party fails to comply with a parenting order or agreement; for instance, if either parent wrongfully denies the other parent’s parenting time, the non-compliant party may be ordered to take part in family counseling, reimburse the other parent for travel costs or lost wages, or, pay a fine for denying the other’s parenting time.
Property division refers to which assets – also known as “family property” each party keeps after separation occurs. It is not always clear, however, which assets qualify as family property and which ones are not family property.
According to the new British Columbia Family Law Act, anything owned by the party before entering a relationship is not subject to division after the separation. If the asset does not qualify as family property, only the increase in its value during the relationship can be divided after the separation.
Why choose Thomas and Associates:
At Thomas and Associates, our highly rated family law attorneys are familiar with all aspects of family law in BC and will do their best to explain your legal rights and responsibilities in a comprehensive and accessible way. Areas of our top family law attorney’s expertise include:
- Separation Agreements;
- Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements;
- Child custody and guardianship, including protection orders and relocation disputes;
- Child support and spousal support, including determination of income, obtaining retroactive support, reducing support arrears and varying support orders;
- Property and debt division, including restraining orders to protect the dissipation of family-property, and the valuation of businesses, pensions, securities and other financial assets;
- Litigation, including trial, and trial preparation, judicial case conferences, trial management conferences, settlement conferences and chambers applications for interim orders;
- Appeals to and within the Supreme Court of British Columbia and appeals to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia; and,
Our main goal is to provide you with the most effective legal advice to help you achieve a resolution that is in the best interest of you and your children.