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Property division in British Columbia includes engagement rings

In an era when people are scratching their heads over cryptocurrencies, battling over an engagement ring seems archaic. However, there have been cases across Canada in which divorcing couples will each claim that storied -- and often valuable -- piece of jewellery. Unlike Alberta where a promissory ring still falls under breach of promise, British Columbia family law treats all engagement gifts under property division.

It can become quite a tangle. The giving of a ring as a promise to wed does not imply that the marriage will last forever. This applies as well when a house, car or other large item is gifted to show the commitment to marry, with or without an engagement ring. In other provinces, courts deliberated on whether engagement rings were conditional or unconditional gifts.

High asset divorce in British Columbia must include all income

Definitions of income are outlined in tax laws to clearly establish status on which tax exemptions may be claimed. However, income as defined in the federal child support guidelines is what family law courts in British Columbia must base their decisions on. Accordingly, in a high asset divorce, all income must be disclosed in order for the court to make determinations about spousal or child support, and in particular, what the amounts of those payments should be.

It seems self-evident that nondisclosure, or even hiding, of income during or after the dissolution of marriage will, at some point, lead to legal mayhem. In a recent application for both child and spousal support, the judge called full disclosure as "the most basic obligation" in family law. In what reads like a cautionary tale, the ex-spouse claimed that his only income came from provincial disability payments, falling well below the threshold for child support.

Cryptocurrency can cause disclosure issues in high asset divorce

One of the reasons divorces can last so long is that some parties refuse to be forthcoming with asset disclosure. While British Columbia family law requires all assets to be disclosed in order to finalize a divorce settlement, those going through a high asset divorce may find themselves dealing with a partner who attempts to hide information. The costs of trying to hide assets far outweigh the positives, and such actions can leave people in vicious court battles for months or even years.

One of the most recent ways people have attempted to hide assets in British Columbia divorces is through cryptocurrency. These present a unique challenge for courts, as cryptocurrencies are more difficult to trace due to their decentralized nature. There is no physical form of these assets and they only exist on a protected network, so proving their existence can be difficult if not impossible.

How to deal with Bitcoin in property division proceedings

Dividing assets during a divorce can be a challenging process. Recently, cryptocurrencies have added an additional complication to the property division process. The volatility of these assets, the difficulty splitting their ownership using the blockchain and the potential to hide these assets have made them a difficult new issue in British Columbia divorce law.

Cryptocurrency, the most common of which is Bitcoin, is a decentralized digital currency. It is not produced or controlled by a central government, and can be owned by anyone who chooses to purchase it. Purchases can be conducted online or through Bitcoin ATMs. Bitcoin's value is highly volatile; its value increased by 2000 percent in 2017 but has been declining from this peak throughout 2018.

Do divorces have to split their pension with their ex?

Spouses who have financially supported a marriage can sometimes feel bitter when their financial obligations continue after a divorce. For this reason, some of the biggest points of contention for British Columbia couples during property division are retirement savings and pensions. Current family law standards may require those who have grown a pension over the course of a long-term marriage to split that with their ex-spouse, regardless of the circumstances around the divorce. 

Parental alienation may affect child support under family law

In contentious divorces, children can sometimes end up in the middle. While the emotional and personal costs of parental alienation is well-documented, people may not be aware that alienating an ex can also have financial consequences. Under British Columbia family law, payor parents who are alienated may have recourse in court.

Under family law, child support is governed by British Columbia provincial standards along with the Divorce Act and the Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines offer a default amount of child support in order to prevent disputes between parents. It is unusual for courts to deviate from the guidelines. However, cases of parental alienation may be an exception.

When a parent is intent on moving with the kids

When you and your spouse made the decision your marriage was no longer working and you decided to divorce, it was most likely that the best interests of your children were paramount to both of you. Children thrive with stability and routine, yet there are times when one parent -- for whatever reasons -- believes that moving away is the best solution to his or her personal situation.

But where will that move leave the children? What happens when you or your former spouse wants to move away? How will this decision impact the lives of your kids? First off, the parent who wants to move -- or to relocate -- has to give the other at least 60 days notice in writing. It doesn't matter if the move is with the children or not. That notice also goes to anyone with whom the kids have contact by way of a court order or an agreement.

The complexities of a divorce with education savings for children

When a divorce occurs, people typically expect that finances will be divided between each spouse. However, there are some accounts that people may be less likely to consider in property division, such as RESPs for children. For many British Columbia couples, choosing who will hold these education savings can become a significant issue when dividing assets.

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.

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