Comment regarding the new Family Law Act

On November 24, 2011, the Family Law Act became law. The Act came into full effect on March 18, 2013. The Family Law Act replaced the Family Relations Act and implements a series of changes, some more radical than others, which will completely alter the landscape of family law in British Columbia.

The new legislation will have an impact on the practice of family law, particularly when:

  • advising clients seeking marriage and cohabitation agreements;
  • advising clients expecting to separate in the near future;
  • advising clients who were not entitled to spousal support under the Family Relations Act but may be entitled under the Family Law Act;
  • advising clients who had no statutory property rights under the Family Relations Act  but may under the Family Law Act; and,
  • drafting or providing independent legal advice on cohabitation, marriage and separation agreements.

You are strongly encouraged to attend any of the education programs on the new Act being offered by The Continuing Legal Education, the Trial Lawyers Association or the Canadian Bar Association. This module will provide a basic overview of the Family Law Act.  As the Family Law Act is utilized in practice and considered by the courts, some of the assumptions made below may change.  We will do our best to keep this module up to date as the law develops, but you should be sure to research the current law when faced with a situation involving the Family Law Act.  An overview of the new Act is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Community Discussion

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There should be a "next" link at the bottom of each article/page.

I was a speaker at a CLE course in early 2013, presenting a paper on judical discretion to reapportion under the new Act.