Friday, December 14, 2012

Family Law Act (FLA), Regulations & Resources

On March 18, 2013 the new Family Law Act (FLA) will come into full force. Resources and training are being offered by a variety of sources. 

The Family Law Act (FLA)

The Family Law Act Explained

Part 1 - Interpretation 

Part 2 – Resolution of Family Law Disputes 

Part 3 - Parentage 

Part 4 – Care and Time with Children 

Part 5 - Property 

Part 6 – Pension Division 

Part 7 – Child and Spousal Support 

Part 8 - Children’s Property 

Part 9 - Protection from Family Violence 

Part 10 – Court Processes 

Part 11 - Search Officers 

Part 12 – Regulations  

Guide to the New BC Family Law Act

Legal Services Society.

This guide introduces the new act, which comes into effect on March 18, 2013. It includes information about:
  • family law language changes,
  • making agreements to stay out of court,
  • dispute resolution,
  • parenting arrangements,
  • child and spousal support,
  • dividing property and debt,
  • family law protection orders, and
  • moving with children.
It also contains a glossary of definitions for many of the new and changed family law terms and a useful resources section.

Coming soon in simplified and traditional Chinese, French (online only), Punjabi, and Spanish.

Order your print copy now or download the guide from our publications page.

Dye and Durham - Information from a webinar

1) Paramount Considerations/Goals in Drafting Legislation & Changes Already In Place;
2) Family Dispute Resolution;
3) “Best Interests of the Child” as they relate to Mobility (Relocation) Rights;
4) Family Violence;
5) Property Division “Significantly Unfair”;
6) Support;
7) Procedural Rule/Form Changes; and
8) Appearance Tips.

Family Law Act: New Resource for Justice System Workers and Advocates 
J.P. Boyd
I've put together an overview (PDF) of the new Family Law Act for people who work in the justice system and legal advocates.

The current version is dated 7 November 2012 (previous version - 3 November 2012); please download the updated document (PDF).

The new Family Law Act regulations

Family Law Act Regulations Explained

Part 1 - Interpretation 

Part 2 – Family Justice Counsellors 

Part 3 -Family Dispute Resolution Professionals 

Part 4 – Child Support Guidelines 

Part 5 - Child Support Recalculation 

Part 6 – Prescribed information, forms and fees

The Family Law Act Pension regulations set out the requirements for dividing a pensions under Part 6 of the Act, including the forms a spouse must use, the pension plan administrators’ duties to provide information to the member and spouse, and the formulas to be used to calculate a spouse’s share of the member’s pension. 

These regulations will take effect on March 18, 2013, the same day as the new Family Law Act, with the exception of the training and standards provisions, which come into force on January 1, 2014. The Family Law Act regulations will replace all Family Relations Act regulations.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Congress could outlaw 'stalking apps' used by jealous spouses quietly tracking cellphone users


Richard Lardner, The Associated Press, December 13, 2012.


WASHINGTON - For around $50, a jealous wife or husband can download software that can continuously track the whereabouts of a spouse better than any private detective. It's frighteningly easy and effective in an age when nearly everyone carries a cellphone that can record every moment of a person's physical movements. But it soon might be illegal.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was expected Thursday to approve legislation that would close a legal loophole that allows so-called cyberstalking apps to operate secretly on a cellphone and transmit the user's location information without a person's knowledge.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., would update laws passed years before wireless technology revolutionized communications. Telephone companies currently are barred from disclosing to businesses the locations of people when they make a traditional phone call. But there's no such prohibition when communicating over the Internet. If a mobile device sends an email, links to a website or launches an app, the precise location of the phone can be passed to advertisers, marketers and others without the user's permission.

The ambiguity has created a niche for companies like Retina Software, which makes ePhoneTracker and describes it as "stealth phone spy software."

"Suspect your spouse is cheating?" the company's website says. "Don't break the bank by hiring a private investigator."

An emailed statement from Retina Software said the program is for the lawful monitoring of a cellphone that the purchaser of the software owns and has a right to monitor. If there is evidence the customer doesn't own the phone, the account is closed, the company said. The program is not intended or marketed for malicious purposes, the statement said.

But Franken and supporters of his bill said there is no way to ensure the rules are followed. These programs can be installed in moments, perhaps while the cellphone's actual owner is sleeping or in the shower. The apps operate invisibly to the cellphone's user. They can silently record text messages, call logs, physical locations and visits to websites. All the information is relayed to an email address chosen by the installer.

Victim's advocacy groups said Franken's bill is a common-sense step to curb stalking and domestic violence by weakening a tool that gives one person power over another.

"It's really, really troubling that an industry would see an opportunity to make money off of strengthening someone's opportunity to control and threaten another individual," said Karen Jarmoc, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

A domestic violence case in St. Louis County, Minn., helped persuade Franken to introduce his bill. A woman had entered a county building to meet with her advocate when she received a text message from her abuser asking her why she was there, according to congressional testimony delivered last year by the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Frightened, she and her advocate went to the local courthouse to file for a protective order. She got another text demanding to know why she was at the courthouse. They later determined her abuser was tracing her movements with an app that had been placed on her cellphone. The woman was not identified by name in the congressional testimony.

Franken's proposal would make companies subject to civil liability if they fail to secure permission before obtaining location information from a person's cellphone and sharing it with anyone else. They also would be liable if they fail to tell a user no later than seven days after the service begins that the program is running on their phone. Companies would face a criminal penalty if they knowingly operate an app with the intent to facilitate stalking.

The bill includes an exception to the permission requirement for parents who want to place tracking software on the cellphones of minor children without them being aware it is there.

An organization representing software companies opposes Franken's bill because it said the user consent requirement would curb innovation in the private sector without adequately addressing the problem of cyberstalking. Voluntary but enforceable codes of conduct for the industry are more effective methods for increasing transparency and consumer confidence, said David LeDuc, senior director for public policy at the Software & Information Industry Association.
Senate Judiciary Committee: