Exploring the impact of changes to language in B.C.’s Family Law Act




Stewart, Brendan

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In March, 2013, B.C. replaced its existing 1978 Family Relations Act with a new statute, the Family Law Act (FLA; the Act). This research project explores the impact of particular aspects of FLA-related policy changes, such as differences in how concepts are described and defined. These include the preference for out-of-court consensual dispute resolution mechanisms, the definition of guardianship, and provisions for parenting arrangements and the best interests of children. The key research question for the project is whether changes to the provisions and language of the FLA have produced measurable or observable changes in the behaviours, perceptions, and attitudes of those working in or using the B.C. family justice system. Related questions focus on specific sections of the Act in which changes were made. Professionals from a number of groups were consulted and asked to share their experiences. The hope was that the findings would inform future evaluation activities and research on the Act's implementation.



Family Law, Consensual Dispute Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Guardianship, Best Interests, Family Law Act, Family Law Reform