Guardianship under the New Family Law Act – what separated parents need to know

Under the Family Relations Act (the law that existed in BC before March 2013) if separated parents were joint guardians, and one parent died, the other parent became the sole guardian of any minor children; neither parent could appoint a guardian to replace them in the event of their death. This is no longer the case and separated parents can and should make provisions in their will for an alternate guardian for minor children in the event of their death. Ideally, this decision will be made in consultation with the other parent (guardian) and ideally it will be the other parent who is appointed. An issue that I see arising is when spouses appoint guardians out of spite (not unheard of in family law) so that the surviving parent has to share guardianship with someone they dislike – the new spouse for example. Food for thought.