Posts tagged family law
Hot off the press: Living Together or Living Apart

Living Together or Living Apart: Common-Law Relationships, Marriage, Separation, and Divorce is back in print!

We’ve revised and updated the English version of our popular, award-winning booklet Living Together or Living Apart. This booklet explains the basics of family law in BC. It includes information about:

  • your rights and responsibilities if you’re married or in a marriage-like relationship,
  • how spouses can work out agreements,
  • what to do if you decide to separate or divorce,
  • how to work out arrangements for parenting if you have children, and
  • how to sort out money matters.

Family law can be complicated. But with the right information and help, you can solve many issues on your own without going to court. This booklet explains your legal options and where to get help. It also includes a chapter for Aboriginal families and a chapter for immigrant families.

Order copies from Crown Publications or download the PDF. Available in print and online.

Clear Skies wins Apex Award!
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We’re happy to share that Clear Skies has won an Apex Award! The Apex Awards is a world-wide competition for publication excellence. Clear Skies is a different approach to talking about the law for us. This graphic novel uses an engaging story and striking imagery to tell the story of Marnie and her kids, who live with family violence. With the support of her community, and by learning her legal options, Marnie leaves an abusive relationship. Clear Skies shows the human side of the legal process.

Clear Skies was a joint project with the Healthy Aboriginal Network. It recently won a Communicator Award as well. Congratulations and thanks go out to the entire team that made this project a reality!

International rugby — Innovating justice with the Netherlands
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I’ve never played rugby. I once went to see a Six Nations game in the rain — and drank a mug of Bovril, which sounds weird, but when in Rome (or Scotland) — but I can’t say that I understand the game. I also don’t understand what rugby has to do with software development, but they both have scrums. I recently spent a week in a scrum developing a roadmap for MyLawBC. For the last few months we’ve been working with HiiL, a non-profit in the Netherlands, to develop a new website called MyLawBC. The heart of the site is guided pathways. The basic idea behind guided pathways is that when you come to the site, it will ask you some questions about your problem. Based on your answers, it will diagnose your legal problem and give you an action plan unique to your situation, which will help you take the steps you need to resolve it. Hiil and the Dutch Legal Aid board created a similar site called Rechtwijzer, so we’ve been working with them to learn from their experiences.

Rechtwijzer screengrab
Rechtwijzer screengrab

Two weeks ago, we held a weeklong scrum in our Vancouver office to map out how these guided pathways will work. When you Google “scrum software development” you’ll probably run across a definition that uses the words agile framework, complex projects, and innovative scope. It’s very different from how we normally think and work, and it’s a lot of work, but it gets results.

November scrum

Two folks from HiiL, Jin Ho and Tsvetelina, came to Vancouver to help us conduct the scrums. We had nearly 30 people from all different walks of life helping us develop the tool: lawyers, community workers, other legal organizations, government officials, intermediaries, members of the public, and LSS staff. We worked on pathways for family law and family violence; wills, estates, and life planning; and foreclosure.

We started with the end points, figuring out where we wanted the user to be at the end of the process. For example, if we take divorce, then one of the possible end points could be the person being divorced, happy, and in stable living conditions with a plan for communicating with her ex. From there, it’s a matter of working backwards and figuring out how the user gets to that point and what information, instructions, and resources they need along the way. Sounds easy right?

I spent most of my time working on the foreclosure pathway, which is based on our booklet Can’t Pay Your Mortgage. I thought that it would be easy enough. I mean, there’s really only two outcomes (you keep your house or you lose it), and the court process itself is pretty linear. I was wrong. There are a lot of ways you can get to or be involved in that court process. It was the easiest of all the topics we covered, but that doesn’t mean that it was easy.

The end of that week was unusual. Most of us had spent over 40 hours working only on this and were noticeably tired, but everyone was still excited to keep working on the project. I don’t know if you can be simultaneously burnt-out and keen to keep working, but somehow we were. The pathways were mapped out, but we still wanted something tangible, or at least as tangible as a website can be.

That comes later. Early next year is when the first prototype should be ready and when the fun will really start.

— Nate Prosser, Online Outreach Coordinator