Blog Posts

Below are our blog posts about recent developments in the areas of Estate, Family and Personal Injury law as well as comments on some recent important decisions from the BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Deficiency of Section 213 of the Family Law Act for Out of Court Agreements
June 9, 2022

The court in B.L.S v D.J.S 2022 BCSC 764 took a tapered interpretation of s. 213 of the Family Law Act. This interpretation may incentivize improper disclosure for settlement agreements outside of court. Background The plaintiff in this case was the wife of the defendant. After separating in 2011, the pair entered into a separation […]

Can the estate of a deceased spouse commence a family law claim on their behalf?
May 30, 2022

What happens if a spouse has separated from their partner, but prior to their death does not commence a family law claim for division of assets? Can their estate commence a family claim even when the deceased made no such effort? Background This issue arose in the case of Weaver Estate v. Weaver, 2022 BCCA […]

Can the Obligation to the Child be Replaced by Benefitting the Grandchildren
February 15, 2022

Can the Obligation to the Child be Replaced by Benefitting the Grandchildren? In an April, 2021 BC Court of Appeal decision, the court considered a variation of a will on the basis that the testator’s moral obligation to his daughter was not discharged as he benefited her sons at her own expense. In Scurek v […]

Does Pre-Judgment Court Order Interest Need to be Pled on Retroactive Periodic Spousal Support?
February 1, 2022

Does pre-judgment court order interest need to be pled on retroactive periodic spousal support? The short answer is no. Court order interest, governed by the Court Order Interest Act [COIA], is mandatory on pecuniary judgments whether it is pled or not.

Fighting over Fluffy: Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet?
April 29, 2021

Fighting over Fluffy: Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet? For many people, the family pet is considered a living breathing member of the family. In some cases they are better behaved than most family litigants. Although the Court has been known to make interim custody orders for a motorcycle (Krczizanowski v Fieseler, 2018 BCSC […]

Reviewing Spousal Support in Separation Agreements: What is “Material Change”?
March 20, 2021

Reviewing Spousal Support in Separation Agreements: What is “Material Change”? Most family claims are resolved by way of settlement agreement rather than trial. The amount and duration of spousal support are commonly set out in an agreement and can sometimes be incorporated in a Consent Order. The wording of those clauses requires careful attention, especially […]

Examinations for Discovery during Covid: Is Zoom the default?
November 5, 2020

Examinations for Discovery during Covid: Is Zoom the default? The Covid pandemic has definitively altered the way litigation is conducted in British Columbia, including conducting examinations for discovery. While the courts struggled initially to adapt to a new way of conducting hearings progress is (slowly) being made. Trials are still being conducted in person, subject […]

Failure to Consummate a Marriage still valid grounds for annulment in BC
September 12, 2020

Failure to Consummate a Marriage still valid grounds for annulment in BC An annulment for failure to consummate a marriage is still alive and well in British Columbia. Annulment vs. Divorce Divorce and annulment have the same result: dissolution of the marriage. However, both have different implications for how the prior marriage is treated. A […]

Settlement Offers and Releases: Pitfalls and Problems
August 21, 2020

Settlement Offers and Releases: Pitfalls and Problems Most litigants are able to resolve their issues without trial by agreement. Releases are a standard part of the process and provide assurance to both sides of the transaction that the issue has been laid to rest and neither side can bring any future claims. Often the releases […]

Tax Consequences of Lump Sum vs Monthly Spousal Support: Why the difference matters
May 25, 2020

Tax Consequences of Lump Sum vs Monthly Spousal Support: Why the difference matters Spousal support can be awarded and paid as lump sum or periodic monthly payments. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. However, there are tax consequences in opting for one or the other that should be factored into determining an amount. […]

Are RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals part of Income for Spousal and Child Support? (Short Answer: It depends)
May 13, 2020

Are RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals Part of Your Income for Spousal and Child Support? (Short Answer: It depends) Many people make RRSP and RRIF withdrawals before and during a family claim. Sometimes these are used to pay legal bills or purchase a new residence. If you do make a withdrawal, how does it affect your […]

Are Views of the Child Reports Binding?
April 30, 2020

Are Views of the Child Reports Binding? Views of the Child Reports or “Section 211” reports are an important piece of puzzle to help the court determine what the appropriate parenting arrangements should be. Sometimes a parent may not agree with the results of a section 211 report and they may feel the report is […]

Separation and Parental Alienation
February 5, 2020

In a recent BC Supreme Court decision, the court considered the effects of parental alienation on children whose parents are separated or divorced. In N.S. v. C.S, 2020 BCSC 48, the separated couple had three young boys, aged 16, 12, and 10. Following the couple’s separation, the three children refused to have contact with their […]

Parent Relocation and Best Interests of the Child
October 4, 2019

Can one parent relocate a child without the other parent’s consent? There are several circumstances in which one parent’s consent is not required to relocate a child. In a recent decision, the BC Supreme Court discussed the rules pertaining to the relocation of a child by one of the child’s parents. In Dowell v Hamper, […]

The 411 on Section 211 Reports under the Family Law Act
July 6, 2019

The 411 on Section 211 Reports under the Family Law Act Section 211 reports are reports prepared by approved and qualified persons to help the court decide what the best interests of the children are for any orders. The “best interests of the children” are the foundation of any decision involving children under the Family […]

Proposed Changes to the Divorce Act on Relocation – Vancouver Family Lawyers
June 28, 2019

Vancouver Family Lawyers are here to explain how the recent changes to the Divorce Act will impact your ability to relocate with your child. The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family surveyed lawyers and judges and over 98% of participants indicated that disputes involving issues regarding relocation are different to resolve. Bill C-78 […]

Failure to Comply is Fatal: Recent BC Supreme Court Decision on Document Production
June 23, 2019

Failure to Comply is Fatal: Recent BC Supreme Court Decision on Document Production When it comes to demanding documents in a civil lawsuit, failure to comply with the rules is fatal. Document production in BC Supreme Court is governed by Supreme Court Civil Rule 7-1(10), 7-1(11), and 7-1(12) and by Supreme Court Family Rule 9-1(7), […]

Wills Variation for Spouses under BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act
May 29, 2019

Wills Variation for Spouses under BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act Wills variation for spouses is a part of BC’s Wills, Estate and Succession Act. Section 60 of BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides that a spouse (including a common law spouse) may apply to vary a deceased person’s will where they do not […]

Tax Liabilities are Family Debt
April 24, 2019

CRA Debt and Family Debt: Whose responsible? A spouse’s CRA debt can be a significant issue in separation and divorce and a recent BC Supreme Court Decision of Neely v. Neely, 201F9 BCSC 610 found both spouses liable for tax debt incurred during the relationship. Under section 86 of the Family Law Act family debt […]

Is Gambling Debt Family Debt? New Supreme Court Family Ruling Explained
April 15, 2019

Are gambling debts the responsibility of both spouses? Gambling debt can be a tricky issue in Family Law. Section 87 of BC’s Family Law Act, specifically sets out what is “family debt”. Under section 86, family debt is any financial obligation incurred by either spouse during the relationship as well as any debt incurred after […]

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