29 April 2010

Family Relations Act Review Update

Readers will recall the review of the Family Relations Act begun by the Attorney General's office in 2007. As mentioned in a post last year, work on the project has continued behind the scenes following the end of the AG's public consultations.

I have learned that the AG is due to release a white paper in June summarizing amendments that will be made to the Family Relations Act as well as options for amendments which may be made to the act. Will there be another opportunity for public comment before the bill is tabled in the legislature?

To read other posts about the FRA review , click on the "Family Relations Act" label below.

25 April 2010

Spousal Support Calculators

Readers of my website will recall my frustrated attempts to create on-line calculators to handle the math required by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. Despite hours and hours of effort, I simply couldn't coax JavaScript to generate exactly correct results; the math required by the "with child support" formulas is just too complex and defeated me. As a result, I decided to take my "with child support" calculator off-line rather than have people going to court with inaccurate information.

This has not proven a problem for Bryan Delaney, an Ottawa family law lawyer, whose firm's website features calculators for both the "without child support" formula and the basic "with child support" formulas at http://www.delaneys.ca/calculators_main.html. Congratulations are due to Mr. Delaney, although, with respect, I am not sure how accurate the results of his "with child support" calculator will be with the limited information it seems to require.

The surviving calculators available on my website are:
  1. child support, under the old and new child support tables for British Columbia;
  2. children's special expenses; and,
  3. the "without child support" spousal support formula.
My technical overview of calculations under the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines is available at the website of the Department of Justice at http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-fea/spo-epo/calc/index.html.

Update: 25 May 2011

DivorceMate, the company that sells spousal support software to lawyers, has published a free, public spousal support calculator. Read my post on the calculator for more information, or click on the "advisory guidelines" label below.

05 April 2010

Remarrying After a Void Marriage

Not every marriage needs to end in death or divorce. Some marriages are voidable and others are void from the get go. How do you remarry if you're in a marriage which is void or might be voidable?

A marriage may be voidable if:
  1. the marriage was a sham;
  2. a male spouse was under the age of fourteen or a female spouse was under the age of twelve at the time of the marriage;
  3. one or both spouses didn't consent to the marriage, or agreed to the marriage as a result of fraud or misrepresentation;
  4. a male spouse was impotent or a female spouse was sterile at the time of the marriage; or,
  5. the marriage cannot be consummated as a result of a spouse's medical or mental condition.
If a party to a voidable marriage wants to remarry, a judge must either declare the marriage to be void, annulling the marriage, or make a divorce order. With the court order in hand, go to your local branch of the Vital Statistics Agency and get your marriage licence!

A marriage may be void if:
  1. one or both spouses were under the age of seven at the time of the marriage;
  2. the spouses are within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity set out in the federal Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act;
  3. one or both spouses didn't have the mental capacity to marry at the time of the marriage; or,
  4. one or both spouses were married at the time of the marriage.
Marriages which are void are void ab initio, from the very beginning, as if they were never celebrated. As a result, you don't need either an annulment or a divorce; your marriage never existed in the first place! You can proudly declare yourself to be unmarried when applying for your marriage licence.

If you run into a situation where you need proof that your marriage was void, the only solution I can think of would be to commence a Supreme Court petition proceeding asking for a judicial declaration that your marriage is void.