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Surrey British Columbia Family Law Blog

The marital home may be the trickiest part of property division

During the course of a marriage, the typical married couple accumulates a wide variety of assets, from stamp collections to silverware. For most, the marital home tops them all for value, and its disposition is the most important consideration during the process of property division. Choosing what to do with it may not be easy, but for those who sell, specialized help may be available.

Thanks in part to the recent huge upswing in the real estate market, homes in British Columbia are selling for top dollar. While valuating their assets, some divorcing couples may discover their home is worth far more than what they paid for it. This may seem on the surface like hitting the jackpot, but it could actually be bad news for some people. It may be that the value of the home is too great to be balanced by the rest of the estate, or that neither party can afford to buy out the other party's share. The only choice may be to sell the home and share the proceeds.

Tax implications are worth considering during a divorce

When a marriage ends, just about every aspect of the spouses' respective lives will change. There may be a change in residence, schedule and certainly in personal finances following a divorce. There will also be changes to both parties' tax situations. There are special tax implications every divorcing person in British Columbia should know about.

The Canada Revenue Agency needs to know when a couple's marital status changes, as this affects many aspects of a person's taxes. For example, if the household income drops, which it typically does, that could change the amount of the GST/HST credit, and child tax benefits. Additionally, there may be provincial tax benefits that are affected.

Choosing mediation in BC is a good idea, but who will mediate?

People living in British Columbia have a range of divorce options that did not exist not so many years ago. Rather than going to court, many divorcing couples choose a form of alternative dispute resolution to sort out their marital dissolution in a less confrontational manner. Mediation is proving to be among the most popular choices. However, what guarantees do people have as to the quality of mediators available to them?

Fewer people are taking their legal disputes to court, with one source suggesting the figure may be as low as 7 percent. Despite the increasing popularity of mediation for resolving divorce and family law issues, however, mediation is essentially an unregulated profession. Some in the industry recognize the need for proper training and certification of mediators. 

More facts about property division in British Columbia

When a marriage or marriage-like relationship ends, one life suddenly becomes two. As the couple splits apart, so too must all their belongings. During the process of property division, the combined assets and liabilities of a couple are spread between the former partners before they go off to live separately. Here are some answers to the questions men and women may have about dividing assets in British Columbia.

The Family Law Act of March 2013, brought many changes to the rules for property division in BC. As things stand now, former partners will typically be granted an equal share of the value of their combined assets and debts. Property brought into the marriage or long-term relationship remains in the possession of the original owner. Be aware that time restrictions are enforced: an application for property division must be made within two years of the divorce order, or within two years of the date of separation for unmarried couples.

For the sake of the kids, consider a civilized divorce

When a husband and wife go their separate ways in British Columbia, they only have their own interests to consider. However, when a mother and father get a divorce, there is a lot more at stake. For the sake of the children, parents should strive to approach the situation with respect and consideration. One former couple has made a sensation on the internet with their extremely touching devotion to their son, even after a divorce split the family in two.

A man and woman divorced in the spring of 2015, when their son was only a couple of years old. Realizing after the divorce that a family photo had not been taken since 2013, the mother arranged for a photographer and invited her ex-husband to join them. He agreed to come along for the photos. 

When there is no respect in the courtroom, a divorce can go badly

No one expects the end of a marriage to be a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, some people seem to forget that the person on the opposite side of the struggle is a human being with feelings. In the struggle to come out of a divorce with the settlement one desires, it is usually best to remember to act respectfully and with a measure of consideration. A divorce case in British Columbia went horribly wrong for one man when the pressure finally became too much to bear.

A man in B.C. was brought to the brink by an excess of support obligations. His ex-wife of eight years had him in court for allegations that he was not paying the child support he owed her, and he was attempting to have the amount reduced. While the struggle was ongoing, she accused him of assault and had him arrested; however, the judge stayed the charges. She also insisted he be fined $10,000 for contempt of court for his failure to pay. That, too, was stayed, but his appeal to have the support amount reduced was dismissed.

Delinquent ex avoids jail, agrees to pay support after divorce

A British Columbia courtroom isn't always the best place to sort out the details of a marriage gone bad. However, sometimes it is necessary to take one's issues there to have them dealt with effectively. For example, failure to pay support can possibly lead to criminal proceedings. One Hollywood celebrity recently learned this first hand when his ex-wife threatened him with allegations of contempt, after he reneged on a divorce settlement and stopped paying court-ordered spousal support.

In 2005, actor Dean McDermott left his wife, TV chef Mary-Jo Eustace, for actress Tori Spelling. The two have since married, and now have five children together. In March 2017, Eustace took her ex-husband to court, claiming he had not paid any spousal support since July 2016.

3 tips that could save money during a divorce

Canadians of all ages continue to end their marriages. The overall divorce rate is at 40 percent, and even older married couples are divorcing at a rate of 10 percent, double what it was in the 1990s. One of the chief concerns for anyone whose marriage is ending is the fate of their finances. Divorce is never free, but there are ways to curb expenses and make sound plans for a new financial situation.

Residents of British Columbia have the option to pursue a divorce outside the usual channels. Alternative dispute resolution techniques, like mediation, enable two people to work together in association with their representatives and an impartial mediator to formulate a separation agreement that best suits them. The results may be more satisfactory than a judge's ruling, and the process may be shorter (and hence less expensive) than spending time arguing in court.

Family law sometimes requires support from non-biological dads

To be a father to a child is not the same as fathering a child. One does not need to be a biological parent to enjoy a loving, parental relationship with a child. However, when the relationship with the mother ends, what family law requirements are there of a non-biological dad to pay child support? A British Columbia mom recently found out one possible answer to that question.

A child was born on March 30, 2009, to a woman and a man in an eastern province. In June 2012, the couple split, and the terms of their separation agreement made clear there were no children of the marriage. It had come out by that time that the man was not the father of their little boy. The woman and the child moved to B.C. after the divorce finalized in 2014, and the man stayed behind. A year and a half later, she served him with a demand for child support.

Pre-plan property division with a marriage agreement

A marriage agreement is not the kind of thing two starry-eyed newlyweds discuss across a bistro table at a British Columbia ski resort. It is, however, an important topic for any married couple, especially after assets have accumulated over the years. Though no happily married couple wants to get a divorce, it may be comforting to know that if it should ever happen, the complex and contentious matter of property division is already dealt with.

Like its well-known counterpart, the prenuptial agreement, a marriage agreement (or postnup) allows a couple to make practical decisions about their assets in case of a divorce. It may be possible to make better decisions while still on good terms than it would be after a marriage has gone sour. A predetermined course of action can save time and money in the future.