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Vancouver Family Law Blog

Parental Relocation of Children: A Study Of What Courts Decide

In 2017, Canada’s Department of Justice issued a report examining parental relocation cases decided between 2001 and 2011. The study reveals some interesting trends about how and when courts permit parents to relocate with their children. Interestingly, the study showed courts sometimes say one thing and do another, especially in the cases of unilateral parental relocation with their children.

The parent seeking permission to relocate is almost always the mother. There are few cases where fathers seek to relocate. Fathers are as successful as mothers in getting judicial permission to relocate.

Family law rules stipulate how lottery winnings should be split

It has been said that winning big money can change people. When one person in a couple wins a lottery or the couple themselves win and then separate or divorce later, family law rules in British Columbia will look at the individual situations. There are five cases, in particular, where the court decided lottery proceeds should be split equally.

In the first, the court decided that although separated, the husband and wife were still living as spouses and that the husband did not give his wife the winning ticket as she asserted, so she was ordered to give her husband half of the winnings. A man and woman had been living in a volatile common law partnership for three years when the woman found an old lottery ticket that was a $2.1 million winner. She left the house with her things and that winning ticket, but the court sided with the man who launched a suit to get half the prize money. 

Is Remaining In My Unhappy Marriage The Only Way To Stay In Canada?

In our increasingly globalized world, it is common for family lawyers to see marriages between two people from different countries. Once together, you understandably want to live and work in the same place, but acquiring permanent residency in Canada can be a lengthy and paperwork-ridden task. Spousal sponsorship for permanent residency, therefore, is a good avenue to take as it allows a non-Canadian spouse to remain and work in Canada. This is a great option while you're married, but what happens to your sponsorship status if you just can't work things out?

Wills and estates: Having the talk with adult children

It's uncomfortable for many adult children to talk to their parents about estate planning. Those talks surround the inevitable loss of a parent and no child, no matter how old he or she is -- wants to think about that. But when it comes to he planning of wills and estates in British Columbia, open and honest communication can save much added grief when they time comes to fulfilling a person's last wishes.

Not having the talk can do more harm than good. A small amount of potentially uncomfortable talk time could diffuse what might be an explosive situation down the line. By communicating their intentions about their wills and estates, parents can make sure their children feel like they're being treated fairly. It also gives parents the opportunity of hearing their children's opinions on things which may make estate planning less daunting.

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Wills and estates: Transparent communication with an executor

One of the most important things when writing an estate plan, is the naming of an executor. British Columbia residents who are planning their wills and estates will need to do some serious thinking about who that individual should be for them since the job is often not for the faint or heart. It can be time-consuming and stressful and takes a person who is honest and trustworthy.

Estates can take on a complexity that some people may have a hard time dealing with. An executor of an estate should have some know-how in dealing with finances and also have some knowledge of estate law. So, when choosing an executor, it is important to discuss these things with the person the testator has earmarked for the job. It doesn't have to be an adult child or a spouse, and in some cases, it's better to get someone who might not stand to benefit from the estate directly, like a lawyer.

High asset divorce: Splitting the pie fairly

Some married professionals, like athletes, singers, actors and others with amassed wealth, believe they deserve more of the pie should they get divorced. Some of these individuals reside in British Columbia, and when they become embroiled in a high asset divorce, many try to pay as little as possible in spousal support. The law lays out the ground rules for what is acceptable.

Canada has what is known as the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). It was put into place in 2008 with a $350,000 ceiling in an effort to provide consistency regarding spousal support payments. But that figure is just a guideline and judges can look at those figures on a case-by-case basis.

High asset divorce: Divorce Act caters to the middle class

Couples who have more assets may have a more difficult time financially when it comes to ending their marriages. Couples in British Columbia who are in the middle of a high asset divorce may have the government to blame seeing that the federal Divorce Act was basically designed for middle income earners. Many wealthier people own businesses and the division of assets in the divorce process isn't all that straightforward.

These cases often need the help of not only lawyers but also of forensic accountants, mediators and financial analysts. Someone may also be called in to assess the value of any businesses involved. The law in British Columbia allows divorcing parties to have one appraiser to assess the value of a business as opposed to each party having an independent appraiser.

Family law and business growth during a marriage

When a person owns a business in which a spouse is not actively involved, the owner may wrongly assume that the business is not shared property. In fact, under British Columbia family law, some business owners can find that their hard-built businesses are considered community property. It is a good idea to consider these legalities and to protect a business from such consequences in advance.

Those who start businesses prior to their marriage should consider including this asset as part of a prenuptial agreement. It is important to remember that even if a business begins prior to marriage, any growth in that enterprise after a couple ties the knot can be considered marital property. A prenuptial agreement can protect this growth by designating that assets tied up in the business should belong solely to one party in the case of a divorce.

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