Dreyer Davison’s Insight into Family Law Questions

Family law can be a complicated and confusing time. There’s much to consider when you’re experiencing issues with divorce and separation, child support, will writing, or real estate conveyancing. This is why, at Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP, we aim to provide our clients with the most up-to-date family law information.

Family law is a complex matter and our team of experienced lawyers consistently strive to ensure that all of your questions are answered. We work to ensure that you completely understand the process from start to finish.

Browse the answers to the most common family law questions we are asked at Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP.

If you have a family law issue you would like to share with our team, please complete this questionnaire.

Any other questions about family law? Speak to our team today or consult the topics below to learn more about our practice and our commitment to family law in Surrey, Langley and the surrounding area.

Family Law Answers

Can I just get a separation agreement drafted?

Often the most important step in resolving your family law matters is a separation agreement. All issues, except a divorce, can be settled by agreement and those terms can be written into a separation agreement. Dreyer Davison Lawyers advises against drafting your own separation agreement by purchasing or downloading a form. The law surrounding separation agreements, from negotiation to enforcement, is complicated. Having Dreyer Davison Lawyers draft your separation agreements will provide a polished final product that avoids common pitfalls or uncertainties which often exist in “homemade” agreements.

Can my spouse/partner and I see a mediator together?

There are many lawyers who are trained as family law mediators. Your case may be appropriate for settlement with the assistance of a mediator. Regardless, you will need your own lawyer to review the mediated agreement with you and provide advice. This review and advice are a few of the many services offered by Dreyer Davison Lawyers.

Can I get divorce documents drafted and filed with the court?

You can file your own divorce documents. However, this court process is complicated and quite finicky. You will want to have all of your other family law issues settled before you try to obtain your divorce. Many people find it is easier to hire a lawyer to obtain their divorce. If a divorce is uncontested, it is a relatively inexpensive process to have Dreyer Davison Lawyers obtain your divorce.

How is child custody determined?

Child custody is determined by what at first seems a very simple test: what is in the best interest of the child? Generally, a child benefits from a full and active relationship with both parents. However, this area of law is complicated and has many variables which influence what exactly is a child’s best interest. Custody is a very emotionally charged concept, so much so that the law is changing. Now, custody is no longer part of family law. Rather, guardianship, parental responsibilities and parenting time have become the issues. We at Dreyer Davison Family Lawyers in Langley, BC and throughout the Fraser Valley recognize the importance of this change and have embraced the concept of parenting time. Now, rather than arguing about semantics, we can truly discuss a child’s best interests. Dreyer Davison Lawyers has dealt with hundreds of parenting situations.

How is child guardianship determined?

As of March 18, 2013, the concept of child guardianship has been completely changed by the Family Law Act. This act replaces some charged terms with more neutral alternatives which helps to promote a more collaborative approach to family law issues. The best interests of the child remain the overriding concern for all involved parties. Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP has dealt with hundreds of guardianship situations.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support can be one of the most contentious of family law issues. The general concept is that the economic impact of a marriage or relationship breakdown is to be shouldered equally by both spouses. Many factors come into play: the role of the spouses during the marriage or relationship, the employability of the spouses, young children being at home, etc. If there is an obligation to pay spousal support then there is an obligation on the recipient of that support to work towards self-sufficiency, if possible. Dreyer Davison Lawyers has dealt with hundreds of spousal support issues. Let us help.

How will my assets be shared?

Any asset that can be categorized as a matrimonial asset is subject to division. The definition of a matrimonial asset is very broad. Assets that were brought into the marriage or relationship can complicate the division. It is important to remember that for every hour you argue about the asset division, you have spent $300 in legal fees.

How is child support calculated?

The amount of child support paid/received is determined by federal law (a law made by the Canadian government as opposed to a provincial government). Visit the Child Support Calculator for a rough idea of what you might expect to pay or to receive in child support.

What is the purpose of child support?

In British Columbia, child support payments are used to provide for the necessities of a child or children and to ensure that they are raised in a close standard of living as if their family unit had not separated.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is someone’s legal appointment of a specific person (the Attorney) to manage your property and financial affairs should you be incapacitated. There are also special powers of attorney, which can focus on specific tasks that must be completed in your incapacitation. A general power of attorney allows much greater power, from redirecting mail, paying bills to opening and closing credit cards and much more. A power of attorney can be temporary (for example, if someone is recuperating from serious illness) or permanent (more common in cases involving aging parents or spouses).

At Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP, we aim to provide our clients with the up-to-date information about the legal process. Contact our team of experienced lawyers today or browse the answers to our frequently asked questions below to learn more about the legal process and our commitment to family law in Surrey, Langley and the rest of the Lower Mainland.

The legal process is constantly changing and our team of family law lawyers work hard to ensure that all of your questions are answered. From the start to the end of your family law case, Dreyer Davison will be there to ensure that you understand all aspects of the legal process.

Legal Process Frequently Asked Questions

How much will my fees be?

The answer to this question is impossible to predict. Dreyer Davison Lawyers LLP bills at $300 per hour. Adding to this are most disbursements (postage, photocopying and so on) as well as 12% PST/GST. Fixing a family law issue is not the same as fixing a car. Most of the cost is decided by the conduct of you and related parties in the case. If you want to “fight” every issue in court, your legal fees could be tens of thousands of dollars. If you can settle all issues through mediation and compromise then your family law legal process fees may very well be in the thousands of dollars. For every hour that you argue, you spend $300 of your hard-earned money. That's why we try a non-adversarial, mediation-oriented approach to your family law situation. Only when absolutely necessary do we bring a matter to court.

How do I hire Dreyer Davison Lawyers?

Upon hiring (retaining) Dreyer Davison Lawyers, you will be asked to pay us a retainer. This is a sum of money that is used to secure our services. You will receive a retainer letter which will outline your legal relationship with Dreyer Davison Lawyers. You should review the retainer letter carefully and you have the legal right to have another lawyer review the letter. Once you have signed the retainer letter and provided a retainer, we can begin working to solve your family law issues.

How do I get billed and how are my accounts paid?

File during a billing period. Your account will be paid from your retainer. When the retainer is below $1,000, we will ask for a further retainer. If you have an outstanding account, we will do no further work on your file until such time as your account is brought current. Whatever amount of your retainer is left after we solve your family law issue is returned to you. If you have a question about your account, don't hesitate to contact us.

Will my family law matter go to trial?

Whether your family law matter goes to trial depends on you and your spouse. Dreyer Davison Lawyers will encourage you to settle to avoid expensive, time-consuming court battles. However, if no settlement can be reached through negotiation or mediation, then your family law matter will have to go to trial.

If my matter goes to trial, will a jury decide my case?

No. In British Columbia, juries do not hear and decide matrimonial matters.

Do I need to attend every court appearance?

No. Some court appearances do not require your presence. However, some do. If you hire us, your BC family lawyer will let you know when and where to attend. We'll attend with you.