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In This Volume

The Family Law Act places the safety and best interests of the child first in dealing with the rights and obligations of parents and other family members, particularly at the time of and after separation or divorce.

The Act defines the scope of the court’s powers in family matters and also provides a range of other means for resolving family disputes including agreements, mediation, parenting co-ordinators and arbitration.

The Act sets out detailed provisions for determining a child’s parentage whether through adoption, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, or other arrangements. It also addresses the care and support of children, access to children, and protection for children from family violence.


Part 5 of the Act, ss. 81 to 109, deals with the division of property and debt at the date of separation. Family property is defined to include all real and personal property owned by the spouses at the date of separation unless an asset is expressly excluded under s. 85. The property division rules apply equally to married spouses and to unmarried spouses who have lived in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years.

On application by a spouse under s. 91, the Supreme Court must make an interim order restraining one spouse from disposing of property until the other spouse establishes that a claim for an interest in that property will not be defeated or adversely affected by the disposition. Section 97 confers powers on the court to make a declaration of ownership, an order granting title to a spouse, or an order for partition and sale. Under s. 99, a spouse may file notice of a property agreement in the land title office. The registrar may register the notice in the same manner as a charge.

Part 7 of the Act, ss. 146 to 174, deals with child and spousal support. Sections 148 and 163 provide, respectively, that a written agreement for the support of a child or spouse filed in court is enforceable under the Act and the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act as if the agreement were an order of the court.

Part 8 of the Act, ss. 175 to 181, deals with children’s property including circumstances under which the Supreme Court may appoint a trustee (s. 180).

Part 12 of the Act, ss. 245 to 249, sets out the powers of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations. Section 248(1)(b) regulates the fees payable for filing a notice of a property agreement under s. 99.