Family Law

We understand that every situation is unique, and that family conflict or breakdown can comprise of some of the most stressful events that a person can experience in life. For this reason, the lawyers at Duncan Allen Law are committed to investing time in understanding each family dynamic through the course of your professional relationship with them in order to offer a service that is tailor-made for you.

We use “family law” as a broad term which includes the topics below, as well as (but not limited to) adoption, grandparent’s rights, custody, relocation and mobility, and restraining and protection orders.

Divorce and Separation
Making the decision to proceed with separation from a spouse can be one of the most stressful things a person will experience. Typically former spouses are eligible to get a divorce after living separate and apart for one year. Sometimes this period may include the spouses living separate and apart but under the same roof. While you usually need to wait the one year to get a divorce, you can deal with all other matters stemming from your separate before that, including a parenting plan and property division. If all other matters have been dealt with, you may be eligible to get a desk order divorce, without having to step foot in a courtroom. Read more about divorce and separation here, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.


Guardianship and Parenting Arrangements
In any family law matter where a child is involved, their best interest must be the number one consideration when making decisions around parenting time, guardianship, or family restructuring generally. If you and your former partner can’t agree, there are myriad ways of reaching a conclusion about what’s best for your child, including obtaining a Views of the Child Report or employing a Parenting Coordinator. Having a formal agreement can often prevent opportunities for future conflict from arising and provide a more stable, predictable environment for children involved in a separation. Read more about different parenting issues on our blog, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.
Child Support
It’s important to know what your financial obligations to your children are after a separation, particularly if they aren’t living with you full-time. If you are the primary caregiver of your children and you aren’t receiving support from your child’s other parent, it’s imperative for your children that you pursue the support they are entitled to as soon as possible. If you and your former partner are amicable and able to keep your child’s best interests in mind, figuring out child support needn’t be an expensive battle. Read more about child support on our blog, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.
Spousal Support
Unlike child support, there is no automatic entitlement to spousal support in BC. The person requesting support must prove entitlement on the grounds of either compensation or need. Compensatory support is meant to do just that: compensate the person in the relationship who forfeited their ability to earn an income in order to raise children or support their spouse’s career. Alternatively, if one person has financial need after separation and the other spouse can meet that need, support could be awarded on that basis. Spousal support can be paid in regular installments or in a lump sum and there are various tax implications to consider. Other sources of income can also be considered for division if they’re family property, such as a pension or investment portfolio, so it’s important to get legal advice before negotiating. Read more about spousal support here, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.
Property and Debt Division
The thought of taking stock of and dividing up everything you and your spouse own can be daunting and feel overwhelming. It is important to understand how the Family Law Act (FLA) defines family property before agreeing to any division of assets or debts after a separation. The FLA stipulates what kinds of property may be excluded from division and what counts as shared family property. The FLA also sets out how and when things should be divided equally, or in some cases, unequally. When it comes to entering into any agreements or orders regarding property division after separation, we always recommend seeking legal advice to ensure that you aren’t being stuck with a debt that should be shared, or negotiating an unfair buy-out price if you’re selling your share of the family home. Read more about property and debt division here, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.
Ministry Involvement & Child Removal
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is the government department responsible for child protection. If you have been involved with the MCFD, specifically if the MCFD has removed your child(ren) from your care, it is crucially important to understand your rights, obligations, and the court process that you will be engaged with. As these processes can be complex and the experience very emotionally distressing, it is vitally important that you seek the guidance of a family lawyer before entering into any agreement with the MCFD that concerns the future of your family. Read more about ministry involvement here, or contact us to set up a consultation with a lawyer.
The Lawful Truth