11 March 2009

Family Relations Act Review Update

Frequent readers of www.bcfamilylawresource.com and this blog will recall the review of the Family Relations Act conducted by the Attorney General's office in 2007.

Rumour had it that the review had come to a peaceful death in the Spring of 2008 following a final public consultation about family violence and the involvement of children in the court process. Not so!

To the contrary, I have been informed that work behind the scenes continues and that the FRA Review is alive and well. Essentially, the fruit of the 2007/2008 consultations is being distilled into concrete policy options for presentation to government, in the expectation that government will select a course of action for pursuit in the Legislature once matters have calmed down after the pending provincial election.

This is very welcome news indeed. The subject matter of the FRA Review was extraordinarily broad and took a clean slate approach, unfettered by the shackles of tradition, and seemed to foreshadow the first real overhaul of family law in British Columbia since 1978. Now we must simply await the tabling of some new legislation, although I'd be surprised to see anything before 2010.


I've just learned that the AG's office has published a summary [PDF format] of the public consultations. The summary is worth a read, and whomever wrote it should be commended for his or her clear writing style and skillful explanation of complex legal issues in plain language.


  1. I was told by a Supreme Court Judge yesterday that I could not plead relief under s. 17(9) of the Divorce Act because the order I am seeking to vary was made under the Family Relations Act.

    Although I have a divorce decree, we were married.

    Is this right? If not, what should I say to him?

    As far as I can tell, tne FRA does not have an equivalent to the maximum contact clause, and the kid's mom is saying that the only beneficial contact is no contact.

    I am seeking a change of custody.

  2. This is correct. All orders/changes must be made under the Family Relations Act, in which they originated. The law is a devilish game.
    Good Luck to you.

    PS I paid big bucks for a simple child support order and the Judge threw it out because the Lawyer did not serve the papers properly. E-gad!
    Then to make matters worse I was the one who found out the decision, online, after not hearing from my Lawyer. E-gad!