3 Best BC Family Separation Tips are designed to help you deal with and master some key principles related to family separation in BC. Karsten Erzinger one of our dedicated, Kelowna office family law associates, wrote this blog to set out 3 Things to Know About Separation in British Columbia.
3 Best BC Family Separation Tips 1 877 602 9900
Separations are a difficult and emotionally taxing process in the best of circumstances. The legal aspect of separations can add further stress in these difficult times. If you are consulting with a lawyer concerning separation, being prepared can go a long way in saving you time, money, and stress. Here are 3 Best BC Separation Tips to be aware of before discussing your separation with a lawyer:
- Important Dates:
Two dates that are very important in every family law matter is your date of cohabitation and date of separation. Another date that is important (but not applicable in every relationship) is your date of marriage.
Date of cohabitation is the date you and your former spouse started living together. Figuring this date out can sometimes be tricky to determine years after the fact, and in some cases, the best that can be done is to use an approximate date. The Family Law Act only applies marriages or relationships where the parties have lived together in a “marriage-like relationship” for a period of 2 years or more. The date of cohabitation is important for more than just sorting out the duration of a relationship, as explained below.
Date of separation is sometimes misunderstood. The Family Law Act notes that spouses can be separated while continuing to live together and that the court may consider communication and actions taken by spouses as evidence of separation. Date of separation is generally considered the date when one spouse communicates to the other that the relationship is over and begins acting accordingly.
- Gathering and organizing documents:
To avoid protracted and prolonged litigation after separation, it is important to gather documents for any and all assets and liabilities held in your name or jointly with a third party. This is where the dates as noted above can be of importance. Pre-acquired assets are generally excluded from division of family property and the date of cohabitation is the triggering date for excluded property. For example, if you have $10,000 in investments at cohabitation, and those investments never dropped below $10,000 during the relationship, you are entitled to an exclusion of $10,000 from the division of family property.
If possible, it is very important to gather and organize current statements and statements from the date of cohabitation for any and all bank accounts, investment accounts, RRSP’s, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. This will help determine what is family property, what is potentially excluded property and can greatly streamline the process of sorting out the financial aspects of your separation.
It is of the utmost importance that parties to a separation exchange proper financial disclosure before any agreement is made or signed. The exchange of financial disclosure is one important factor that the courts will look at when considering an application to overturn a separation agreement, and incomplete or improper disclosure can lead to an agreement being overturned.
One thing that can assist your lawyer and save you money is by gathering and organizing your financial documents before bringing them in. This will help your lawyer quickly asses your claims regarding family property and provide you with proper advice.
3 Best BC Family Separation Tips 1 877 602 9900
- There are alternatives to litigation
Going to court is generally a very expensive, stressful, and cumbersome process. It is also not the only way of resolving disputes related to separation. Even if your former spouse has filed and served you with legal documents, it doesn’t mean that the only way to resolve the matter is through the courts. Exploring alternative ways to successfully resolve your family law matter, is the last of our 3 Best BC Family Separation Tips.
Mediation is a common form of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mediators are professionally trained, neutral third parties who are generally hired by both parties to help them resolve some or all of the issues in dispute. Mediation is a non-binding process, meaning that either party is at will to walk away from the mediation at any time. Any information discussed, including proposals for settlement, are strictly without prejudice, meaning they cannot be used by either party against the other in legal proceedings.
A successful mediation can ultimately save the parties’ considerable amounts of time, money, and stress and anxiety. Maclean Law has senior lawyers who are professionally trained as mediators and who have utilized mediation to successfully resolve disputes for their clients.
Other forms of alternative dispute resolution include arbitration, mediation-arbitration, and efforts by the parties themselves to narrow and resolve the issues through negotiations.
Here is some great additional information on divorce and separation in BC.
If you have further questions concerning these 3 Best BC Family Separation Tips, contact Karsten Erzinger.
Family Lawyers Across BC and In Calgary
Going into the process of separation with some preparation, organization, and information can only serve to help you in the process. For more information, contact MacLean Law. We have offices in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, Fort St John and Richmond as well as downtown Calgary.