'Family' Has Multiple Meanings

When the BC Legislature changed "custody" and "access" to "guardianship" and "parenting time" through the Family Law Act, it enacted more than just a substitution of words. These terms encapsulate the world in which a child will live following parental separation. Furthermore, these inclusive terms underscore the fact that the word "family" has multiple meanings.

At Westside Family Law, we represent families of all kinds in the Vancouver area — including common law relationships where marriage wasn't in the picture. You could be seeking legal parental status as a precaution, but more likely, your former partner has threatened to curtail you or your child's legal rights, including denying contact or access, refusing to pay financial support, or even taking your child away. Our lawyers offer the experience and dedicated support you need to obtain an effective resolution, regardless of your situation.

Seeking Effective Parenting Agreements For Your Family

According to modern psychology, children do best developmentally when they maintain contact with and receive support from both parents. Thus, the law seeks to preserve this ideal. It wants to establish agreements where both parents share parenting responsibilities, if possible.

We share this desire, seeking the best resolution method given your family's unique structure. Mediation or collaborative law may work best to obtain a parenting plan that works for your family, because both of these solutions keep the decision-making in your control. That being said, we are fully prepared to protect your child's interests (and your own) in Court when disputes cannot be resolved amicably.

Preserving your child's well-being is the cornerstone of our child custody practice. We'll help you find not just a parenting solution, but the right one.

Determining Parenting Responsibility When Paternity Is In Question

In British Columbia, the law presumes a child's biological parents are his or her legal guardians in most situations, even if parents were not married at the time of the birth. Obviously, both the mother and father can acknowledge parentage and sign the birth certificate. But what if parents split up during the mother's pregnancy and are not living together when their baby is born?

In terms of the law, parents who live together in "marriage-like relationships" could be considered "parents" provided either of the following is true:

  • They live together at the time of their baby's birth.
  • They lived together in a marriage-like relationship within 300 days of a child's birth.

If one person denies or alleges paternity of a child, then the only sure way to know who the true biological father is with a DNA test, but you do not necessarily need to go this far when asserting parental responsibility. If the parentage of your child is in question, our firm can walk you through the process needed to determine paternity. We will also assist you in setting up the appropriate agreements regarding visitation and child support.

We Want What's Best For Your Family

Like you, we want what's best for you and your child. If you need help as a single or nonmarried parent, contact us by calling 604-800-8853 to schedule a consultation. You may also get in touch via email with your specific concerns.