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  • by Christopher Soll


Family law in British Columbia has not only gone through some changes over the past few years, but it also differs in important ways from family law in other parts of Canada. These changes and differences, as well as persistent public myths surrounding family law, have led to some widely believed misconceptions about the topic.

The Kamloops family and child custody lawyers at Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP want to make sure that BC residents have accurate information about family law. Here are 4 common misconceptions about family law that we often encounter: 1) Cohabiting Couples Become Common-law after Less than Two Years. Some people mistakenly believe that a couple must live together for as little as one year or even just 6 months in order to be considered common-law, as this is the case for some employer-sponsored benefit plans. Under the BC Family Law Act, however, couples must cohabit for a two-year period before they are considered to be common-law. 2) Mothers Always Get Custody after a Separation. A common and persistent myth about family law in BC, and, in fact, throughout all of Canada, is that mothers receive de facto custody of children after a separation, or that they are at least more likely to. There is, however, no guarantee that the mother will receive sole custody, as courts look at numerous factors before deciding on what sort of custody arrangement would be best for children. 3) All Family Property Must Be Divided 50/50 after a Divorce. Family property is defined as property that one or both spouses acquired during a marriage. In most instances, this property must be divided 50/50 between spouses upon divorce, but there are a few exceptions. Property which was received as a gift or an inheritance, or which was owned before the marriage (the only caveat being if that property increased in value during the marriage), may be exempt from division. The court can also consider other factors if an equal division of property would be unfair. 4) Property Does Not Get Divided in Common Law Relationships. The exact same rules of property division as described above have applied to common-law relationships in BC since 2013, after the creation of a new legal definition of a spouse. Common-law couples are considered to have a spousal relationship, and must therefore also split their property 50/50 in the event of a separation, with the same exemptions that apply to married couples. Have All Your Questions Answered by Kamloops Family Lawyers If you have any questions about what has been covered here or about any other aspect of family law, then the Kamloops family lawyers and child custody lawyers at Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP are here to help. We believe that it is important to provide compassionate, respectful, and informative family law services so that Kamloops families are assured the best outcome for all involved. Contact Cates Ford Soll & Epp LLP today and gain the peace of mind that comes with having family layers with over three decades of experience practicing family law in Kamloops on your side.


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