Child Welfare and Vaccinations

The pandemic lockdowns have resulted in couples rekindling love once lost or, realizing their partner is no longer the right person for them.

Some have unfortunately been subject to domestic abuse along the way and others have struggled to finalise their divorce proceedings with courts shutting down.

Speaking to Barbara Read-Greenan she briefly outlines common child welfare issues and how separated parents can come to an agreement on issues involving custody, property and assets, and, with the pandemic rising issues around vaccinations, child vaccines.

How common are issues regarding child welfare in your jurisdiction?

Family law is divided into ‘child protection’ issues which are governed by the Child Family and         Community Services Act and investigated by social workers in the employment of the Ministry of Child and Family Development, regarding issues pertaining to the location of parenting and responsibilities falling under the purview of the Family Law Act. Both types of issues are very common.

Have you seen any trends or fluctuations over the past year in this area?

In my experience, the past year has heralded a spike in family law disputes. Many of my clients have reported having taken stock of their relationships in a post-COVID world where, under the restrictions of shelter in place orders and the financial restrictions accompanying that, the weaknesses in the foundations of relationships have been laid bare to many.

With COVID vaccinations being rolled out, is it important that both parents agree on child vaccination?

The issue of who is entitled to make the parenting decision respecting the commitment to the vaccination programs flows from the assignation of guardianship and allocation of parenting responsibilities. If both parents are guardians, and there is no restriction pertaining to the exercise of their parenting responsibilities, the default position will be that both parents must agree to vaccination, under the auspices of the Family Law Act.

If parents cannot agree on an important issue in relation to the child’s welfare (such as the above), under what Act can they raise issues with the Court?

The Family Law Act governs family law disputes which do not have an element of ‘child protection concerns’ as defined by the CFCSA.

In your experience, what is the best way to resolve such disputes?

Wherever possible, alternative dispute resolution is beyond compare as a means of resolving a family law dispute. Negotiation and mediation both loan themselves to assisting parties in fashioning their own solutions to the often-vexed issue of dividing property and time with children.   If litigation, and the attendant ‘war of the affidavits’, can be avoided I find this places parties in the best possible position to effectively co-parent subsequent to separation and where relevant, divorce.

How will the Court intervene to resolve the issue? What do they look at?

This is too broad a question to be answered in the hypothetical. The resolution of family law disputes depends on a variety of principles revolving around the best interests of the child or children where parenting is contested, and the equitable division of property where property disputes are all that is at issue. Support issues are dealt with under differing principles depending on whether the question is a child or spousal support.

How do you come to the conclusion on what is in the best interest for the child?

By a careful presentation of evidence that is both relevant and material to that concept as defined in s.37 of the Family Law Act.



About Barbara:

What has been your biggest achievement in the past 12 months?

Adapting my practice to safely and efficiently assist people post-Pandemic.

Do you have a mantra or motto you live by when it comes to helping your clients?

We at Read Greenan Law Group are dedicated to serving our clientele with compassion, integrity and efficiency.


Barbara Read-Greenan

Family Law Lawyer & Mediator

03 – 255 Ingram Street, Duncan, BC

Barbara was called to the Bar of British Columbia 20 years ago, and the High Court of New Zealand, 18 years ago. Currently, she is practising exclusively in Canada as a family law lawyer and mediator, and she also accepts criminal instruction. A retired contractor to the Attorney General commissioned to act on behalf of the Ministry of Child and Family Development, Barbara is familiar with all aspects of Family Law including allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, analysis of support obligations, and the division of family debts and property. Barbara is experienced at drafting agreements, engaging in alternative dispute resolution processes, and litigation. The foundation of her practice is compassion, integrity and efficiency. She appreciates her clients require her assistance during what is for most of them one of the most trying, and costly, periods of their lives, with their primary assets at risk and their children caught in the fray. She endeavours to ensure her client experience as smooth and straightforward a transition from married to single life, removing complexities, making the shift as effortless as possible for her clients.

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