A final consultation stage in major reforms to replace B.C.'s Family Relations Act was announced today by Attorney General Michael de Jong, QC, with release of a white paper containing draft legislation and policy proposals.
"Family law touches more British Columbians than any other type of law. Changes to an area of law that has such profound impacts on families and children must not be made lightly," de Jong said. "We have reached this stage after a comprehensive review of the family law - the first since the Family Relations Act came into force over 30 years ago. The review included extensive research and broad consultation with the public, the legal community and agencies that serve families."
"What we heard throughout is that the legislation has to better address the unique needs of families. A fundamental shift is needed that encourages and assists parents and spouses to resolve disputes co-operatively where appropriate, with courts being a valued, but last resort."
Government proposes to modernize and improve the legislation to reflect changes in attitudes towards parenting arrangements, and in how families and the justice system resolve family law issues. The proposed legislation will be clearer and easier to understand. It is more explicit about processes for resolving family matters outside of court and provides for improved tools to better manage cases that reach the courts.
Groups and individuals have until Oct. 8, 2010 to give their final comments on the proposed legislation, at: www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation
. Feedback will be considered in finalizing the new family law.