Archive For The “Family Law” Category

FASThelp: Timing your family law matters.

Timing your family law matters: A calendar for co-parents


Co parenting can be difficult, even at the best of times! Prior to your custody arrangements being heard in court, you will have to co parent in the midst of your separation. There are many ways to ease the tension; including timing your family law matters. Read on for advice on co parenting before written agreements are head in hands

A lot of frustration in legal matters occurs because parents do not think ahead when making their arrangements for their children. For co-parents that have a rocky relationship, planning ahead is critical for peace of mind. The court process moves slowly on its own. There are periods of time necessary for providing notice to the other side, then there is time to wait for a court date itself in order to have your matter heard.

In addition, before you can even get to court, you must also navigate your lawyer’s parenting heartbreak

Most lawyer’s schedules are booked up months in advance and it takes time to prepare a court application and set a court date to have the matter heard. Be prepared and think ahead; start discussions early with your former spouse about how you would like to share holidays and special events with the children. If the discussions are unsuccessful, contact your lawyer as soon as possible.


You should allow yourself 3-6 months to settle the matter if it needs to proceed to court; this time estimate will be greater or lesser, depending on the state of your legal matters. This seems like a lot of time, however, there is no shame in having your agreement or order months in advance of your trip, holiday, or special event. It will save on the nail biting and extreme anxiety that last minute planning results in.


In August and September, it is time to start thinking about Christmas. Do you have plans yet for how that will look? Once most couples have been through the process once, they have a plan for how each Christmas will look every year thereafter. In January and February, it is time to start making plans for the summer holidays. These are likely to change every year and may depend on extended family or work schedules. Some couples are successful in negotiating the same schedule every summer in order to reduce friction and promote consistency for the children.

“Shared parenting = ALLIES. Not enemies.”  unknown


In June, start thinking about Halloween. Halloween is one of those events which seems frivolous at first, but for parents of young children, its an important event and one that is often overlooked until the last minute when making plans. Thinking about Halloween in June may seem ridiculously early, however, it can allow for communication between counsel or other dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve the matter if necessary.

If Easter or Thanksgiving or any other holiday is important to your family, allow yourself 3 to 6 months to make arrangements with your co-parent and consult with your lawyer. The more important the event is to you and the more difficult your relationship with your co-parent is, the earlier you will want to bring the matter to the attention of your lawyer.

Dogwood Law 778-410-5090


FASTHelp: Divorce

Here in Canada, we have a “no-fault” divorce system. This means that any married couple can get divorced as long as they live separate and apart for at least one year prior to applying for the divorce.


In a “no fault” divorce, the reason you and your spouse are divorcing simply does not matter when settling your other matters surrounding your divorce. These matters may include property division, debt division, pension division, spousal support, child support, parenting time of children and allocation of parenting responsibilities of the children. Essentially, you are free (and expected) to manage your personal emotional turmoil on your own time and not have a judge weigh and assess the reasons for your divorce and determine who was the most morally justified party.


In order to apply for a divorce in British Columbia, you must be a resident in BC for at least 1 year prior to starting the process. You must have a valid marriage certificate. If your marriage certificate is not in English, you will also need a translation of the marriage certificate as well. Keep in mind, prior to getting your divorce the Courts require that you sort out the most important things in your life – your plan for your children if you have any. Child support and parenting arrangements MUST be considered before you apply for your divorce.

Most lawyers would recommend that you sort out your property matters as well before applying for your divorce. Other than sorting through the difficult realities of separation, the actual divorce procedure is relatively simple. If you do not have any contested matters in your divorce, you can apply for what is called a “desk order divorce.” This means that you do not even need to attend court in order to get your divorce order. A divorce usually takes effect 31 days after the order for divorce is made. This allows time for the court registry staff to complete the required paperwork on their end to ensure that your divorce is registered.

Simply getting a divorce does not mean that your former bank paperworkspouse is now automatically removed from title to your property or from your financial affairs. You must communicate with each institution to ensure that the proper steps have been taken to have yourself or your spouse removed from title to property, from bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages, among other things. If you are freshly separated and wish to discuss the divorce process and consequences of divorce, it is worthwhile to consult a lawyer to make sure that you’ve considered everything. If you have been separated for a long time, but still have not managed to get your divorce finalized, speak to a lawyer about doing up the paperwork for you.

Dogwood Law offers a free 30 minute consultation process, call today and book your appointment.



FASThelp: Parental Alienation Syndrome


Many parents going through hostile divorces or separations often fear they may be the victim of parental alienation. Divorce affects every family differently and sometimes children do get caught in the middle. Children have to learn and adapt to a new family situation where their parents are no longer on the same team and sharing the same family unit. This can be confusing for children and they may push back against the change.

Parental alienation syndrome, however, is much more serious problem and is regarded by many professionals to be a form of child abuse. Parental alienation syndrome is the systematic brainwashing of a child against their other parent, parent’s friends and family.

Symptoms are often shown when a child is antagonistic against one parent, their family and their friends, for no apparent reason. If you believe this is happening in your family, it is critical that you get legal help immediately. In order to diagnose the syndrome, your children and family will likely have to undergo a psychological assessment by a professional that will prepare an expert report for the court.

General Office: 778-410-5090

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