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.

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.

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 […]

Secret Trusts and Estates: What are they and how do they work?
June 25, 2020

Secret Trusts: What are they and how do they work? Secret Trusts are not solely the product of Hollywood murder mysteries. While they are rare, they still do make an appearance in Estate claims. Most recently, they came before our Court of Appeal in Bergler v. Odenthal, 2020 BCCA 175 What is a “Secret Trust”? […]

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 […]

Divorce Court Antics Irk Vancouver Judge
March 28, 2017

Recently a Vancouver judge made it  clear which antics he thought were too much in divorce court. We have blogged on this site before about the importance of legal advice and what to avoid when presenting the court with affidavit evidence here and here. In the recent case of Zandbergen v. Craig, Justice Smith was […]

Do I have to Pay Child Support for my Step Kids?
March 21, 2017

Recently Vancouver family lawyers were reminded that not only parents but also step-parents may be responsible for supporting their step kids after divorce. In EZ v. PZ, 2017 BCSC 375, Justice Baird heard a case in which the mother and purported father were married at the time that the mother gave birth to a child […]

Joint Names Can Affect Your Excluded Property
March 13, 2017

People always assume it is a good idea to put property or bank accounts in joint names with their spouses. They buy a house where they will live, and they put it in joint tenancy. They open a bank account so they can pay their bills, and they put it in joint names. Often, people […]

Does Spousal Support Continue After Retirement?
February 28, 2017

Spousal support orders are made on three bases: Compensatory. To compensate a spouse for their role in the relationship and sacrifices they made during the relationship for the betterment of the spouses’ lives. Non-Compensatory or Needs-Based. To ensure that one spouse does not suffer the consequences of sacrifices made during the relationship more than the […]

How to Prove Property is Excluded Under the BC Family Law Act
February 14, 2017

Since the introduction of the BC Family Law Act, the court has struggled with how a spouse may prove property is excluded. As explained in our blog Dividing Property in BC: The Proof is in the Puddin‘, the person who claims property is excluded has to show that it is excluded. The recent Court of Appeal […]

Court Orders Parent to Sign Nexus Consent
February 7, 2017

Mr. Justice Skolrood of the BC Supreme Court has ordered that  he can step in where necessary and require parents to sign a consent form for Nexus passes. In Pasco v. Pasco, 2016 BCSC 2484, the mother lived in White Rock and the father was unwilling to provide consent for her to travel cross-border for […]

Who Gets the Kids | Is Drinking a Problem?
January 24, 2017

Divorce or separation is a very stressful time BC couples’ lives. In most cases, it’s the most stressful thing you’ll ever have to deal with. In times of such excess stress, you or your ex might reach for the bottle. The question is: In divorce or separation proceedings in BC when does drinking (yours or […]

Husband to Pay Spousal Support Despite Waiver
January 17, 2017

This is a cautionary tale respecting the importance of independent legal advice. On January 13, 2017, Mr. Justice Grauer of the BC Supreme Court ordered  a husband to pay his ex-wife  spousal support despite finding that the parties had entered two “agreements”. He found that first the wife  agreed to a reduction from $8,000 to $4,000, […]

To Have or Not to Have
September 3, 2015

When couples get engaged and get married, they often hope that the relationship will withstand the test of time and circumstance. They often see their union as a romantic venture rather than the financial partnership that it also is. And having a conversation about prenuptial agreements is probably one of the last items most couples to […]

Wills Variation: The Cinderella stories, the Cleveland Browns and the Brady Bunches
August 11, 2015

Blended or step families are becoming the new norm in Vancouver, British Columbia, and all over Canada. There are many reasons people move on to a new spouse or partner. Sometimes it is because they are widowed or widower and are looking to begin a new relationship, and sometimes they realize after having children that […]

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