Modernizing BC's Family Law Act: Division of Property and Spousal Support

  • September 29, 2022

CBABC delivered a submission to the Ministry of Attorney General in response to Phase 1 of the provincial government’s review to modernize the Family Law Act (FLA). The Submission contains several recommendations with specific emphasis on property division and spousal support.

CBABC’s recommendations included:

  • Excluded property should remain excluded property unless there is a true understanding between parties that they are giving up their entitlement to their excluded property;
  • The presumption of advancement should be abolished;
  • Provisions that deal with pet custody should be included; and
  • The test built up in the jurisprudence that defines what constitutes a marriage-like relationship should be codified.

The submission also calls for further direction on property tracing; how different types of property should be addressed; excluded property; when property in trust should be valued; the differences between variations and reviews; and retroactive child support claims and retroactive spousal support claims and the reignition of spousal support claims upon the termination of child support payments.

In addition, the issues of abuse and spousal support, and what occurs when a spouse transitions to another gender were also posed.

Improving family law in BC is a vital part of CBABC’s Agenda for Justice 2021. CBABC has provided the Ministry with a variety of recommendations leading up to and following the enactment of the Family Law Act in 2013.

CBABC’s Family Law Working Group met with representatives of the Ministry and then held engagement opportunities with CBABC Sections to formulate and submit these recommendations. Our members are pleased that the Ministry is consulting with family law practitioners in BC with regards to the modernization of the FLA and look forward to receiving a response on this submission.

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