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Navigating Separation Agreements and Child Custody in British Columbia

Separation agreements and child custody arrangements are critical aspects of the divorce process in British Columbia (BC). However, these can often become complex and contentious issues. Here’s what you need to know when dealing with uncooperative parties, child support issues, and pursuing sole custody.

What to Do If the Other Party Is Uncooperative in Signing a Separation Agreement

When the other party is dragging their feet in signing the separation agreement, several strategies can be employed:

  • Prioritize Communication: Open and clear communication between lawyers and parties involved is critical. If the other party is reluctant to sign, they may have concerns or misunderstandings that need to be addressed.
  • Initiate Legal Proceedings: If communication fails to resolve the issue, it may be necessary to initiate legal proceedings. This could involve filing a case in court, or pursuing alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration or mediation.
  • Proceed with Divorce: If a resolution cannot be reached, it is still possible to proceed with a divorce. However, the court will typically require an agreement regarding child support or will issue an order to ensure the child’s needs are met.

Child Support and Parenting Time

In BC, child support and parenting time (access or visitation) are considered two separate legal issues. This means that a parent’s failure to pay child support does not automatically affect their right to access their child. However, such failure can be seen as a lack of commitment to the child’s needs and may influence decisions about parenting time.

If child support is not being paid, several methods can be used to obtain it, such as wage garnishment. In all situations, the best interests of the child remain the primary consideration.

Seeking Sole Custody

If you’re seeking sole custody due to issues of abuse or failure to pay child support, it’s important to know that the court requires evidence to support these claims. This could include police reports, medical records, or witness statements in cases of abuse. The court takes allegations of abuse very seriously and will prioritize the child’s safety when making custody decisions.

If the issue is a failure to pay child support, evidence of the outstanding amount and efforts made to collect it must be presented. However, a parent’s failure to pay child support does not automatically mean they will be denied access to their child.

Custody decisions are ultimately based on a variety of factors, such as the child’s age, the nature of the parent-child relationship, and each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs.

Navigating the complexities of separation agreements, child support, and custody issues can be challenging. It’s often beneficial to seek legal advice to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved, particularly the child. Schedule your appointment with Northam Law:


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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