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December 3, 2011
Family Law Changes in British Columbia
The B.C. government introduced sweeping legislation Monday that would overhaul provincial laws for divorce, separation and child custody.
The new Family Law Act is an effort to reduce costly legal battles by encouraging out-of-court settlements through mediation, arbitration or other means.
It makes a child's best interests the only consideration in parenting disputes and identifies children's safety as an overarching objective. It also includes a definition of family violence that will be used when determining what is in a child's best interests. The province's family law hasn't been updated since 1978 when it was first introduced, and the makeup of families, along with case law, has changed significantly since then, said Nancy Carter, executive director of the attorney general's civil policy and legislation office.
The changes would also "reduce judicial discretion" for judges to overrule agreements made by parents, said Carter.
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