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Interim Advance Legal Fees

Interim Advance Legal Fees applications help level the family law playing field in Vancouver, BC and Calgary family law cases. Have you ever worried:

“I don’t have money to pay my legal fees.  How can I pay my lawyer to represent me at trial?”

Many people in their family law case worry about being able to pay their legal fees and wonder:

“Will I have to go to trial without a lawyer?  How can I win the case?” 

Well, you are not alone. Fortunately, there is a way you can obtain justice and it is through an application in a family law case to obtain Interim Advance Legal Fees payments. Today, Jonathan Wai of our Vancouver office explains how you can reduce your anxiety about obtaining Interim Advance Legal Fees to fund your family law case.

Interim Advance Legal Fees Lawyers Call 1 877 602 9900

Jonathan Wai, a senior family lawyer at our Vancouver office of MacLean Law family law lawyers explains the availability of getting an interim advance before trial so that your lawyer can represent you during the case and at trial. If getting the largest interim advance and interim distribution matters to you then you should consider that MacLean Law obtained a record interim advance of $400,000 PLUS a further interim advance of $400,000 for their client in Devathasan.


An “interim distribution” is available under s.89 of the Family Law Act to the court:

s.89 If satisfied that it would not be harmful to the interests of a spouse and is necessary for a purpose listed below, the Supreme Court may make an order for an interim distribution of family property that is at issue under this Part to provide money to fund:

(a) family dispute resolution,

(b) all or part of a proceeding under this Act, or

(c) the obtaining of information or evidence in support of family dispute resolution or an application to a court.


Interim Advance Legal Fees

Vancouver Interim Distribution and Legal Fee Advance Lawyers Call 1 877 602 9900

The recent case of Zhang v. Fan, 2018 BCSC 2162, is an example of the same.  In that case, the court noted at para. 25, citing McKenny v. McKenny, 2015 BCSC 1345, that the application for an interim distribution of funds:

1) The applicant must show an advance is required to mount a challenge to the other spouse’s position at trial; and

2) The applicant must show that the advance or payment on an interim distribution basis will not jeopardize the other spouse’s position at trial.

With respect to whether the applicant required the advance to proceed with the case, the court found that:

[28]        I find Mr. Zhang is unable to fund this litigation unless there is an interim advance. The cost of the litigation has been, and will be, substantial. Mr. Zhang has a modest income and he has no present access to his assets in China. I conclude that without an advance, he will not be able to pay his counsel what he presently owes for legal fees and disbursements and it is probable that his counsel will withdraw. If that were to happen, Mr. Zhang would have much difficulty retaining other counsel. He cannot realistically act for himself. Quite apart from having no familiarity with the management of a complex family law case, he is not proficient in English. The cost of translation throughout a 15-day trial would be prohibitive.


The court then considered the respondent Ms. Fan’s circumstances.  In this regard, the court found “there is clearly some prejudice to Ms. Fan”, but that “without an advance, Mr. Zhang will probably abandon the litigation.  The balance of prejudice favors an interim distribution” (para. 29).


As well, in this particular case, the court found that the advance could be made, by compelling Ms. Fan to borrow against the family home, as that was the only family property that was a potential source of funds, and the home was in her name alone.  The amount the court ordered Ms. Fan to obtain was $350,000:


[31]        I order that Ms. Fan will as soon as reasonably possible, and in any event within 30 days, take such steps as are necessary to borrow against the security of the Woodburn property the sum of $350,000, which will be distributed to Mr. Zhang. The cost of borrowing that sum, including any fees and interest, will be shared equally by Mr. Zhang and Ms. Fan until further order of this Court …

It is also noteworthy that one of Ms. Fan’s arguments against the interim distribution was that she had a large debt to a third party, the Respondent Ms. Chen, a debt so large, that Ms. Fan claimed it was larger than the value of the family home (para. 19).   However, the court, without deciding whether or not this debt existed, noted that:

[24]        I am not persuaded I should take into account the prejudice that Ms. Chen may experience if her ability to recover her loans to Ms. Fan is diminished by the delusion of an asset of Ms. Fan, as a result of an interim distribution payment made pursuant to s. 89 of the Family Law Act. No authority has been provided that a third party lender’s interests ought to be taken into account when an interim distribution is ordered out of property held by a party who has borrowed from that lender. Whether that lender is a family member or otherwise is of no consequence.


In summary, to obtain an interim advance, a spouse must be able to show:

  • that the advance is necessary to proceed with their case to trial, and 
  • this need must be balanced against any prejudice to the other spouse in the case.

Our interim advance legal fees lawyers are ready to help but you must take action now and:

Call us at 1 877 602 9900

Interim Advance Legal Fees

MacLean Law record interim distribution and advance lawyers

As you can see, the process to obtain an interim advance to that you have money to pay your legal fees and have your lawyer represent you at trial considers many different factors.  Please contact any of our family law lawyers at MacLean Law if you have questions or need assistance obtaining an interim advance in your family law case.   We have offices available to serve you in B.C. Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Kelowna, and Fort St. John, and offices in Calgary, Alberta.


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