Westside Family Law

A full-service family law firm serving West Vancouver and the surrounding areas


Vancouver Family Law Blog

Can family law force my support-receiving ex-spouse to get a job?

Spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. This can be exacerbated by issues with an ex's working habits. But under British Columbia family law, do divorcees have any legal recourse against a spouse who demands long-term support but refuses to work?

As in most family law, the answer to this question is circumstantial. Judges must consider several objectives when determining support payments, including the advantages or disadvantages due to the marriage or its breakdown, child care considerations above and beyond child support payments and economic hardship caused by the ending of the marriage. The court's final objective is economic self-sufficiency for each party within a reasonable window of time, provided it is practical to do so.

High asset divorce is stressful, but so is high conflict marriage

The decision to divorce is never an easy one. When a marriage is troubled, deciding whether to stay together or split up can bring up many pros and cons, especially when the complexity of a high asset divorce is in play. Experts have researched family relationships and identified benefits and drawbacks to both choices. This information is worthwhile for any British Columbia couple considering their next steps.

There are a few proven downsides to divorce, including financial impact and emotional adjustments. Those undergoing a high asset divorce may have a lot to lose if they are not protected by a prenuptial agreement. Research shows that more than a 30 percent increase in income is needed for the average divorcee to maintain the same standard of living. Career mobility can also be impacted by restrictive custody arrangements or for those who become single parents due to a divorce.

Family law can help women weather financial changes with divorce

Women in Canada face unique financial challenges when it comes to divorce and estate planning. This means that it is a good idea for British Columbia women to understand how family law can support them in preparing for the future. As recent studies show, women control more wealth and live longer than their spouses or ex-spouses. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to be aware of important financial planning and legal processes to prepare for the years to come.

Widows and divorcees face similar challenges financially. Both of these populations are growing in Canada. At the end of 2016, there were an estimated 1.46 million widows across the country. There were also 1.1 million women who categorized themselves as divorced on their censuses, while the combination of divorced and separated women in the country is estimated at 1.5 million.

How to protect assets in high asset divorce without a prenup

Prenuptial agreements are often considered by affluent couples before marriage, but this is not always an option. British Columbia couples have several options to protect themselves in the case of a high asset divorce. While prenuptial agreements should be a consideration, husbands and wives can also look at a few other methods to separate and protect assets.

Those who are undergoing a high asset divorce will benefit from having pre-marital asset set aside in a distinct account separate from joint marital funds. This action will create a clear division between assets acquired before and during the union. To protect property that was acquired outside the marriage, it is a good idea to keep both the deeds, payments, and taxes exclusively under the owner's name. Property taxes and major renovations should come from accounts that are not shared.

Grey divorce requires unique family law considerations

Terms like "grey divorce" and "silver separations" have been making headlines recently. This is due to an increase in break-ups between older couples, especially those who have been together for 20-plus years. Experts are weighing in on the reasons for this increase, as well as the family law considerations for British Columbia couples divorcing later in life.

In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that one in five people in their late 50s identified as divorced or separated. This group had the highest rate of separated and divorced Canadians -- more than any other group. By comparison, in 1981, only 6.9 percent of women and 6.2 percent of men were divorced or separated. The possible reasons for this change vary from a change in life expectancies to shifting social norms.

Consider retirement when going through divorce, property division

To sustain their lifestyle after retirement, many high net worth couples invest large amounts of money throughout their lives. But what happens to British Columbia couples who divorce prior to or during retirement? The property division process can take a major toll on retirement plans. This is an important subject as more Canadians face retirement as singles than ever before.

Statistics Canada reports that there are more one-person households than ever before in the nation's history. In 2016, 28.2 per cent of households were occupied by a single resident. These trends have been traced back to multiple factors, including income redistribution, pensions and women in the workforce. It also is related to higher divorce rates among the older population.

Family law says child support may be owed after age 18

Child support is a topic that comes up in many divorces across the country. Many British Columbia parents who pay child support may think that their payments will end once children turn 18. However, federal and provincial family law may require some parents to continue their support after the child is a legal adult, especially if post-secondary education is involved.

The definition of "child of the marriage" under the Divorce Act defines the obligations separated parents have with regards to their adult children. This means that a British Columbia judge can step in to resolve issues such as the length of time a child should receive support. If a child is still in school or otherwise unable to care for him or herself, the judge can find that support is still warranted.

Early conversations about property division can protect assets

Many people only consider protecting their assets from a partner when marriage comes up. However, as an increasing number of Canadians opt for common-law relationships, steps like moving in with a partner should be given the same careful consideration. In British Columbia, those who have earned or inherited assets should know about the laws governing property division and take steps to protect themselves in the case of a break-up.

Statistics from Mortgage Professionals Canada show that an increasing number of parents are contributing to down payments for their children. In fact, gifts towards a home have doubled since 2000. With 48 per cent of marriages ending in divorce, parents and their children are right to consider the dissolution of a relationship will affect assets an individual obtained prior to his or her relationships.

How pre-nuptial agreements define potential property division

Those who have their own assets before entering a marriage or co-habitation situation may wish to take steps to protect themselves. A pre-nuptial agreement is one option many British Columbia couples can consider to protect their interests in case of any future need for property division. While these can be controversial for some couples, these documents can help lay a foundation for a relationship by clarifying goals and expectations.

A pre-nuptial agreement can define a number of things, including how assets will be divided in case of separation and what should happen if one partner should die while together. This can help to define what will be kept separate and what will be combined during a relationship. For example, a person with shares in a family enterprise may choose to keep this separate from the spouse while sharing the marital home. People may also wish for a partner to have a access to half of their assets if they die but far less if a break-up led to property division.

Family law ruling: Man owes over $500k in child support

In child support cases, staying up to date and honest about changes in one's financial situation are important to maintaining an agreement. A British Columbia man learned this the hard way when a court ordered that he pay over $522,000 in child support after providing misleading financial information to his ex-wife or the courts. Under provincial family law, income is an important factor in deciding how much will be given during a child support agreement.

In 2003, the British Columbia couple agreed that the man would pay $1,182 in child support each month. He also agreed to pay $372 for the children's transportation costs. This was based on the understanding that his baseline income was $90,511. Later, this amount was raised to $1,600 per month.

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