Family Relations Act under review — topics invited
The Ministry of Attorney General has launched a multi-year project to review the Family Relations Act. The Ministry intends to look at the substantive content and organization of the statute and to have it better reflect themes identified by the Family Justice Reform Working Group — such as cooperative dispute resolution by families.
The Ministry has identified topics for review, set out on the Justice Services Branch website (www.ag.gov.bc.ca/justice-services). These include:
- terminology changes to better describe parenting responsibilities
- participation of children
- division of pension entitlement
- division of property, including:
- whether the division of property scheme should cover all couples, married or not
- the overall model for property division, with particular consideration of the level of discretion that should be available to the courts, looking at factors such as certainty, fairness and the value of encouraging settlement
- the triggering events in section 56
- the choice of law/conflict of law when property is in another jurisdiction
- support obligations — whether these should be binding on a payer’s estate
- promotion of cooperative approaches to resolving family disputes, with a shift in focus from litigation to settlement.
Topics that will not form part of the review are child protection, child support guidelines, interjurisdictional support orders and support enforcement.
The Ministry intends to develop discussion papers for consultation and comment.
Lawyers who would like to propose additional topics for the review are invited to contact:
The Civil & Family Law Policy Office
Justice Services Branch
Ministry of Attorney General
PO Box 9222, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Fax: 250 387-1189