• Deer Lake Law Group Lawyer & Notary Public, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Incorporation, Family Law & Mediation Burnaby Law Office
  • Deer Lake Law Group Lawyer & Notary Public, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Incorporation, Family Law & Mediation Burnaby Law Office
  • Deer Lake Law Group Lawyer & Notary Public, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Incorporation, Family Law & Mediation Burnaby Law Office
  • Deer Lake Law Group Lawyer & Notary Public, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Incorporation, Family Law & Mediation Burnaby Law Office
  • Deer Lake Law Group Lawyer & Notary Public, Real Estate, Wills and Estates, Incorporation, Family Law & Mediation Burnaby Law Office

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“I’m just looking for more information...in case I decide that I do want to separate...” is the start of many family law consultations.

Daniel Siegel

In a recent professional development course attended by Lisa Sirlin, Family Lawyer and Mediator at the Deer Lake Law Group, she was alerted to the concept of “Name it to Tame it”, and it resonated with her so much that she now incorporates this simple exercise into her mediation practice.

The theory, created by Dr. Daniel Siegel, goes something like this:

There is a neurological component to stress and anxiety. The executive part of the brain does not work when there are strong emotions in play. The result is akin to rational thought lockdown. How is one meant to work through conflict in this state of thoughtful paralysis?

In order to restore balance, it has been proven that if you take a step back and ‘name it’, for example: I am feeling threatened; scared; cornered; insecure - the executive part of the brain sifts through and categorizes your emotions. Yes, just by naming it!

When clients are stuck in emotions, there is no way forward. By recognizing this, pausing and identifying the emotion, clients will more easily reach their goal. The executive part of the brain must be fully engaged in order to reach a meaningful agreement in Mediation.  




child support reviewMost people contemplating the breakdown of relationship where children are involved will be at least somewhat familiar with the Child Support Guidelines. One commonly asked question is how to deal with the review of child support.
One of the lawyers at the Deer Lake Law Group was consulted by a parent who had raised a child for over 20 years, and received $200.00 per month in child support from the other parent.  
Unbeknownst to the recipient, the payor had been earning an income in excess of $80,000.00 per year for much of the child's life, and should have been paying $748.00 per month - as per the Guidelines. 
Although the payor ought to have been responsible and increased support voluntarily, this did not happen. In short, the recipient was underpaid by more than $20,000.00 (considering the last 3 years when child support was payable).
The Court will review child support, retroactively, but will limit the number of retroactive years, however; the Court, at its discretion, may choose not review retroactively at all, depending on the circumstances.  
The lesson is that child support should be reviewed annually by the recipient to ensure that the payor is paying the proper amount. The review can be as simple as collecting income information from the payor, and ensuring that the amount being paid complies with the Child Support Guidelines.

divorce status

Clients sometimes ask whether moving to another country would have an impact on the status of divorce.

If you have already started your divorce in BC before you moved to another country, you can check the status of your divorce application with your family lawyer or by contacting the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings for Canada in Ottawa, Ontario.

Also, if you were married in BC and want to get a divorce while you are living in another country, you are not required to do your divorce in BC (just because you were married in BC), generally. 

As long as your divorce in the country in which you are living is valid, then it is also recognized in BC.  Even if you move back to BC in the future, the divorce will still be valid in BC.



Clients sometimes ask if their marriage, performed overseas, is considered a valid marriage in Canada (and in BC).

Generally, if your marriage is legal and valid in the country in which you were married, then your marriage is recognized by BC.

If the relationship has broken down, even though the marriage occurred overseas, a divorce in Canada (and BC) would be required to terminate the marriage.

There are certain requirements before parties can apply for divorce. The process of divorce in BC involves the completion of Supreme Court forms, and filing them in a BC court. If this process is too time-consuming and complicated to your liking, you can also find a Family Lawyer to do all the work for you.

Getting legal advice from a Family Lawyer before you start your divorce is a good idea, because it may potentially save you more future expenses down the road. Your lawyer will not only inform you about your rights and responsibilities and the laws relevant to your case but also help you go through the divorce process, which could be the most vulnerable and stressful time of your life. 



Stress divorce womanSome researchers suggest that the loss of a spouse is the most stressful life event. Next on the list – divorce. Other stressors are: moving, major illness and job loss. Unfortunately, divorce is often accompanied by other stressors:
1.Moving – 
For many couples, the family home is the most significant ‘family asset’ and upon a division of assets, one spouse may choose to ‘buyout’ the other spouse, leaving the latter to seek accommodation elsewhere.
For some families, the expense of the mortgage and other household-related costs is not manageable by one spouse alone, and neither spouse is able to stay in the family home, resulting in a double-relocation.
In some scenarios, one spouse may decide that a good place for a fresh-start is in a new home.
It is very rare to find couples who, despite separation and even a divorce, remain under one roof, and neither has to endure the trouble of a move.
2.Major Illness –
While the process of separation and divorce may not actually cause illness, many people find themselves under so much stress during this time of transition, that they may become depressed, increase their chance for heart disease, suffer from anxiety disorders, and so on.
Some medical experts have even suggested that because stress decreases the body’s ability to fight disease, an individual dealing with enormous stress may lose his or her ability to kill cancer cells. (http://psychcentral.com/lib/stress-a-cause-of-cancer/)
It is not uncommon to find spouses who already suffer from poor health become even more disabled by their illness, as a result of the legal proceeding. 
3.Job Loss –
Some parties become so fixated on the process of separation and / or divorce, that they are unable to focus on much else. With some much attention aimed on the restructuring of their lives, they are no longer able to focus on their job. For some, the high level of conflict may necessitate many missed days of work due to meetings with lawyers, financial advisors, court dates and so on.
As a single parent, the parenting time schedule may necessitate a change in work hours, and not all employers are willing to accommodate such changes resulting in dismissal or a mutual decision to change employment.
Although it is advisable to maintain as much stability in life, sometimes such matters are beyond our control. Perhaps the most important lesson is in learning how deal with the stressor so that its affect on our physical and mental wellbeing is minimized.
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