EDITORIAL: Breaking up is hard to do

The new Family Law Act likely won't prevent couples from using courts to obtain "fair" split of property

Pierre Elliot Trudeau once famously said, “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.”

That was in reference to the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, which decriminalized homosexuality, made way for abortion and contraception, regulated lotteries, gun possession and drinking and driving offences – a scenario we take for granted today.

In its latest attempt to poke its nose into our bedrooms, the province’s new Family Law Act will help protect those in common-law relationships if and when the romance dies.

While the new rules clarify the partners’ responsibility for their children, they also make division of assets a little easier, a move the government says will keep more unhappy couples out of court.

As with any change to the law, it’s the lawyers who will see the biggest benefit. People already living common-law and those thinking of shacking up with a romantic partner will now be drawing up cohabitation agreements – planning well beyond who gets the record collection when it’s over.

And while the new rules certainly close a number of loopholes in terms of spousal and child support, there will be unintended consequences, with potentially more at stake financially at the time of a break-up.

It’s only human nature to want what you have coming to you – even if it’s only because the government has said you deserve it. It’s this kind of thinking that might well lead more splitting couples to the courtroom than anticipated.

The new Act gives us all something to think about. Things like purchasing a new car, investing in real estate or RRSPs might best be done before emptying a drawer in your bureau for a new partner.

You might also want to think twice before moving in with someone who is going back to school and about to amass student debt  – because if you part ways, along with those old Neil Sedaka LPs  – you’ll get half of that too.

Just Posted

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

UPDATE: Four vehicle crash on Sooke Road snarls traffic in Colwood

Sooke Road reopens to traffic in both direction

Belmont students, staff reunite family with long-lost war medal

Medal belonged to Sharon Hoover’s great-great uncle

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Optimistic Victoria whale watching company invests in new vessel

Banner 2017 tourist season helps Prince of Whales decide to boost service

Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

Most Read