WEST COAST FAMILY LAW CENTRE

Family Law





Separation and Divorce

To resolve issues arising from a separation or divorce, or for parents who have never lived together but need to resolve parenting and child support matters, we offer the following services.

  • Collaborative Law: Both spouses sign an agreement to work together in good faith and not to go to court. The process may involve lawyers, financial advisors, divorce coaches and/or a child specialist. Professionals retained by the spouses join the spouses’ written agreement to work cooperatively in a no court process.
  • Mediation: The spouses hire a neutral, third party to facilitate the exchange of information, discuss options and reach agreements. The mediator cannot provide legal advice to either spouse, so each spouse should have their own lawyer.
  • Negotiation: Spouses negotiate through lawyers by the written exchange of information, proposals and counter-proposals. Spouses may have four-way meetings with lawyers or take steps in court while negotiating. Unsuccessful negotiations may lead to court applications, trials, or mediation or mediation/arbitration.
  • Litigation: One spouse files and serves a court application. The other spouse can respond after being served with the court documents. The court rules govern the steps taken, including the exchange of documents and evidence, applications to court, conferences and other processes to reach settlement or prepare for trial, and trial if necessary. Litigation is not private. The court fees and processes make litigation an expensive and stressful option for many people.

For more information, please see the Diagram “Summary of Family Law Processes.”



Marriage and Cohabitation Agreements(also called Pre-Nups)

If you and your spouse, or soon-to-be spouse, want a clear, fairly negotiated agreement that deals with your property, incomes and estates, we can help you. You and your spouse can choose what process you want to use, namely negotiation with the assistance of lawyers, mediation or collaborative family law. You will need to share information, discuss options and reach a fair, well considered agreement. This may be done before or after your wedding, or before or after you begin living together. Attempting to negotiate and sign a marriage agreement in the last few days or weeks before your wedding is NOT wise and NOT necessary.



Adoptions

We can help you finalize the adoption of a child born in Canada or another country, step-children under the age of 19, adult children who were in the potential adoptive parents’ care as children, and adoptions between relatives where no adoption agency is involved. We assist with adoption related matters, such as changing the birth date of a child adopted internationally, meeting with birth parents, and advising on adoption options in light of MCFD involvement.