BC Family Law Act Misconceptions: Common Law & Divorce
Flipping Out Over the FLA – Part 1
BC Family Law Act Misconceptions
At the Kushner Law Group in Vancouver B.C., we believe that it is very important to educate our clients on the current legislation and how it may affect them. Although the Family Law Act (FLA) came into force on March 18, 2013, we still find that many people have some misconceptions about this relatively new law and how it changed family law in this province. This blog is part of a two-part series where we will try to tackle some of most-common misconceptions about the FLA and explain the actual legislation.
Misconception #1: Couples who cohabit are considered to be common-law after 6 months or one year.
The Correction: The FLA specifically requires couples who wish to be considered spouses to be legally married to have been living together in marriage-like relationship for two years. While there are many employer-sponsored benefit plans that consider common-law to be as early as 6 months for the purposes of family law in British Columbia, the FLA requires a minimum two-year period.
Misconception #2: You cannot get a divorce unless you and your spouse have lived in separate houses for at least one year.
The Correction: he most common-reason used to support a Divorce application is that the parties have been living separate and apart for at least one year. In reality, the FLA will consider spouses to be living separate and apart while still under the same roof provided that there is evidence that one spouse communicated an intention to separate permanently and that action was taken to demonstrate that intention. The actions considered by the Court as evidence of a separation include living in separate bedrooms and no longer sharing spousal-type duties like cooking and cleaning for the other person.
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