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Porter Ramsay Blog

Family law: Acting in bad faith may have serious consequences

Good faith goes a long way when trying to sort out family issues through litigation. When both parties want to see a contentious family law issue sorted in British Columbia, the worst way to go about doing that is approaching litigation in bad faith. Approaching a problem negatively can cause added problems for everyone involved and those problems can be emotional as well as financial.

When children are involved, and parents live in two different countries, things can get incredibly heated when parents don’t agree on a number of issues including the primary residency of the children. Such was the case of a Canadian couple where the mother lives stateside and the father in Canada. Despite the initial agreement that the child would live with the mother, the father began suit asking for sole custody of the child and for the child to live with him in Canada. 

The family court judge sided with the mother and went a step further to assess whether the man conducted himself in bad faith, which could have serious implications. Bad faith essentially means that a person’s conduct is carried out with the intent to inflict emotional or financial harm; that the person concealed information relevant to the case and that a person deceived the court or the other party. The judge that the man did, indeed, act in bad faith and ordered him to pay $420,000 to his former partner. 

The ruling, experts say, showed individuals that they cannot use the court process to fuel conflict. A British Columbia family law lawyer can advise his or her client on the bad faith issue during the litigation process. Having the advice of an experienced lawyer may avert these problems and help actually help a client come to an agreement before things escalate to the litigation process.