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Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody Law Blog

Canada Revenue Agency may require child custody proof in Canada

Single parents who have custody of their children may get some tax benefits from the federal government. But there are times British Columbia parents might have to prove to the Canada Revenue Agency that they're the custodial parent. When people fill out their tax returns in Canada, the government assumes citizens have declared all their income, but the agency has ways of checking these things. The CRA matches income slips to returns using Social Insurance numbers, making sure citizens have claimed everything. Essentially, claimed expenses, when they come to child custody, must be able to be proved should the government ask for clarification.

Single moms and dads have found that if they claim an eligible dependent (AED) for one child, it may attract the CRA's attention. The AED can save about $1,700 in taxes, with further savings in each province, so it is a large claim. The CRA is requesting custody proof for many of these claims.

Child support issues when one parent lives outside B.C.

Getting a court order for child support when an former spouse is living outside the province or even outside the country was once a tricky situation. However, British Columbia now has agreements with all provinces and territories. Agreements also exist with several other countries that will honour child support and spousal support agreements fashioned in the province. 

The province wanted to make sure both parties involved in the process were treated fairly and that, if needed, both people could present any evidence before the order was entered. The former process could be long and arduous. So, B.C. provincial and supreme court judges discussed the matter with the provincial Ministry of Justice, which culminated in a new way of doing things -- the Interjurisdictional Support Order Act (ISO).

Divorce mediation: Transforming parenting roles during divorce

Waving the white flag is the first order of business when it comes to making the best out of a less than stellar divorce situation. Divorce is usually not looked upon as a positive regarding any familial area. But by adopting a divorce model used in British Columbia divorce mediation, divorce couples can parent their children as separate individuals as well as they were able to as a couple.

No couple wants any animosity that may be between them to be transferred to their children. Yet, there are times when children -- in as much pain about the divorce as they may be -- may use the situation to their advantage, and this is where having a parenting plan or map comes in handy. A family mediator may be able to diffuse situations where a child or children are pitting one parent against the other.

Child poverty in Canada has child support connection

Single parents often have a tough time financially. The fact that child support payments are taken off social assistance cheques in Canada doesn't make it any easier. Some single parents even find it difficult to pay rent, let alone to properly care for their children.

Child poverty is a problem in Canada, and British Columbia is no exception. In fact, B.C. takes first place in the nation with almost 18 percent of children in the province living below the poverty line. In a province that is known for being financially well off, lobbyists say parents should not have to pawn their children's toys to get them shoes or to buy fresh produce. Single-parent families living on or below poverty levels should not have child support funds deducted from social assistance funds they receive -- something most provinces do.

Child custody: Indigenous heritage not only factor in B.C.

Although a child's aboriginal heritage should be considered during the adoption process, it is not the only factor  when deciding on the best interests of the child, according to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. There are several things that come into play when deciding child custody in British Columbia, including the emotional well-being of the child. Some weight should be given when the child in question is of First Nations, Metis or Inuit heritage; however it does not take precedence over other issues.

In a recent ruling on one particular case, the court indicated that a child who has a strong emotional bond with his or her adoptive family and siblings in that family dynamic -- regardless of heritage -- would likely be harmed emotionally if removed from the family. In this case, it was clear the child knew about his band and First Nation and is proud to be of Aboriginal descent. An appeals court judge indicated that the Aboriginal heritage of a child doesn't attract "super weight" over other issues when considering an adoption order.

Death of man paying child support leads to complex court case

When a man who was shelling out money to support two families dies, some sticky problems can arise. The deceased, a citizen of Canada, was paying spousal and child support to his ex-wife. They had two children. However, he was also caring financially for his fiancee and their unborn child. When the married couple divorced, the man not only agreed to support payments but also to keeping his former wife on his life insurance policy as the irrevocable beneficiary.

The man agreed to keep up his million dollar policy without an end date or a reduction. But when the couple separated, the man, who continued to live in Canada, became involved with a woman who lived in the United States. He developed cancer around the same time his girlfriend -- who would become his fiancee -- became pregnant with their son. The man died before his divorce became final.

The why's of divorce mediation in British Columbia

There are few things more heated in a family dynamic as discussing an impending divorce. British Columbia couples who are separating -- especially when there are children involved -- might do well to seriously consider divorce mediation. Solving issues peaceably is emotionally healthier for everyone involved.

Mediation may be less expensive and less stressful than going to court. The divorce mediation process will help both individuals learn how to best resolve contentious issues in positive, constructive ways. Mediation is also an informal, private process, which is conducive to constructive problem solving. A licensed mediator will work with each party to iron out issues while still considering the needs of both people.

Divorce mediation helps separating couples stay strong mentally

Couples facing divorce have much on their minds -- sometimes overwhelmingly so. Separating British Columbia couples, especially those with children, must realize they need to take care of their own well-being to continue to be effective parents. Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences in life, second only to the death of a child or partner. Divorce mediation can make what can be a very rocky path much easier to navigate.

In a divorce situation, those involved must acknowledge that things are hard. Researchers have proved that when people understand and give their fears credence, what they think are shortcomings and what causes them shame really helps them to grow in maturity and strength. Divorce mediation can be a process that strengthens separating British Columbians.

Complete disclosure essential to high-asset divorce in B.C.

Sometimes, even being high school sweethearts and launching a home-based business together is no guarantee against the eventuality of divorce. Divorce is one of the most challenging transitions in life, carrying in its wake the dismantling of a familiar, shared lifestyle. In a high-asset divorce, it can happen that the securing and management of finances have been taken for granted on the part of one spouse or even both.

When this is the case, it is crucial to ensure that a family law practitioner experienced in complete and thorough assets discovery is available to assist. Shared finances in high-asset divorce cases in which spouses have teamed together towards acquiring all the finer things in life can be complex. As couples in British Columbia and elsewhere may discover, when it comes to complete disclosure, it is not love that wears thin, but patience.

Division of property may follow money disputes in marriage

Getting married, or committing to a common-law relationship, is a major life decision. The strength and stability of the basis for such a permanent connection require different bricks to provide security. One of those is open conversations about money matters. The number of divorced couples who blame their breakups on financial disputes underscores the importance of such talks. While couple's in British Columbia start their new shared lives as spouses, they might not realize that conversations about the division of property may follow soon if they fail to establish a firm financial understanding.

Advisors say stress and arguments about money can be avoided by discussing the following matters before the marriage or moving in together. Talk about the financial goals and expectations of each spouse. If one is frugal and avoids spending money while the other party loves restaurant meals and expensive clothes, disagreements are sure to follow if no agreements are reached in advance. The financial histories of each could be discussed, with full disclosure of the debts each party will bring into the relationship.

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