Lesson 3: Family Law


  1. Theodore “Blue” Edwards was a basketball player for the Vancouver Grizzlies in the early to late 1990s. While here in Vancouver, Edwards began an extramarital affair with Kimberly Van de Perre that lasted a few years. Out of that relationship, a child was born. In 1997, Kimberly Van de Perre took Edwards to court to gain sole custody and child support for their son. She was given full custody of the child with four one-week periods of access to the child per year for Edwards.

    Edwards appealed the decision. During the appeal, Edwards’s wife, Valerie Cooper Edwards, joined in the request for joint custody because of their son’s relationship with his half twin sisters. The appeal was won by the Edwards family for joint custody with Van de Perre.

    The Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s decision saying that race played an issue in the court’s decision. The judges felt that it was in the best interest of the child to be with his African American roots. Van de Perre was white.

    Van de Perre took the matter to Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court overturned the original appeal and went back to the original lower court’s decision of awarding sole custody of the child to Van de Perre.

Van de Perre vs. Edwards 2001 can be viewed at Canlii.org. Review the arguments in the case Kimberly Van de Perre vs. Theodore Edwards. Decide on a debate resolution with your group and then debate that resolution.

  1. From newspapers, find three articles that relate to family law and marriage.
  • Summarize the articles
  • Highlight the important issues in your own words
  • State and justify your opinion about the issue
  1. Debate the following issues:
  • Women should by law be forced to take their husbands’ names after marriage
  • All couples planning to be wed should take family planning and marriage classes
  • Divorce is too easy in Canada