New B.C. family court rule updates to facilitate upcoming federal legislation

By Ian Burns

Law360 Canada (October 16, 2023, 9:37 AM EDT) -- B.C. has updated its court rules for family law cases, which it says will increase access to justice in the province.

More people with family law cases involving child support and parenting arrangements will be able to get information they need to get a resolution to their matters with the new amendments to the Supreme Court and provincial court family rules. The amendments are being made to implement changes to the federal Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act that will come into force on Nov. 15.

Changes include adding the ability to bring applications to request searches under the Act in Supreme Court and provincial court, as well as the power to direct parties to file the supporting documents and affidavit evidence required by the new provisions in the Act. It also identifies terms that a court may consider when making orders authorized by the Act related to preventing the person whose information is being searched from knowing about the search request, allowing search information obtained to be provided to the parties without further court order, and make orders protecting the disclosure of information obtained.

The province said the changes will benefit divorced or separated people who need to obtain, change or enforce support or parenting arrangement matters where one person cannot be located, or income information cannot be obtained. It said this can increase the effectiveness of court proceedings to establish, change and enforce support and parenting arrangements provisions in orders of payment.

The changes facilitate the court applications provided for in new amendments to the Act, which authorize a search for information about a party’s income or location that may be in certain federal data banks. They include a way for someone in a family law case to apply to search for certain income information and or location of another party for purposes of establishing or changing child support or given court documents, so a hearing can happen.

See here for more information about the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act.

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