Estate & Family Law Blog

Parenting terms in the Family Law Act


For men and women in British Columbia who choose to get divorced, a confusing array of laws are in place to govern the separation. Many may find themselves confused as they read or hear reference made to two very separate pieces of legislation: the Divorce Act, and the Family Law Act. This article seeks to make clear some important differences and key aspects of the latter.

The Divorce Act is federal legislation put in place by the government of Canada. All citizens of Canada who divorce are subject to this law. Many provinces, however, have their own laws that apply to families, British Columbia included. In B.C., this is the Family Law Act, which was enacted in March 2013.

Some terms many are familiar with, including “access” and “custody”, do not appear in the Family Law Act, though they are still found in the Divorce Act. The Act is part an effort to change the way British Columbians view parenting after a divorce or separation. The focus is now on what is best for the child or children after the parents are no longer together.

The emphasis for today’s divorced or separated parents should be on working together to support their children. Key terms in the Act include “contact”, “guardianship” and “parental responsibilities”. Each parent is encouraged to play a role in the upbringing of his or her child, regardless of whom the child lives with and from where financial support is generated.

Going through a divorce or separation can be a challenge, even for the most amicable of partners. Navigating through the complexities of the applicable laws may be especially difficult. The process may be easier to manage, however, with the help of a caring and experienced family law firm.

Source:, “Parenting Apart“, Accessed on Dec. 13, 2016

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