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High net worth property division

Vancouver Family Property Division involves the valuation and then an equal or unequal division of family property and family debt.  Our top rated Vancouver Family Property Division lawyers have set a number of key precedents in this area. New laws for Vancouver family property division have been in place for over 9 years now and Judges have decided how the rules for family property division and family debt division work. Today, founder Lorne MacLean, QC gives you a simple explanation of the key principles of BC family property division. MacLean focuses on international and high net worth family property division cases involving million dollar companies, family trusts, and real estate ventures and has written frequently on the topic.

For an example of our stellar results oriented Vancouver family property division approach read this Vancouver Sun article.

Who does Family Property Division Apply To? 1 877 602 9900

Our Family Law Act divides family property equally between married spouses and spouses who have lived in a marriage like relationship for over 2 years. The division of property in B.C. is governed by the Family Law Act. Couples will generally share equally any property that is acquired during their relationship. There are limited exceptions for unequally dividing family property based on significant unfairness. The property spouses bring into the relationship is usually excluded, although the increase in value over the course of the relationship can be divided.

Vancouver Family Property Division Lawyers Can Help You Sort Things Out 

Vancouver Family Property Division
Vancouver Family Property Division lawyers Fraser and Lorne MacLean, QC

Whether you are working to settle a Vancouver family property division and family debt case or you are asking a Judge to decide the issue the following key rules apply:

  • A.   Family property and debt division relief arise from  Parts 5 and 6 of the Family Law Act allowing married spouses and persons cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years. Vancouver family property division claims must be brought by married spouses within two years of the date of divorce, and by unmarried spouses within two years of the date of separation. This is subject to a possible extension of time but is prudent to use the two-year limitation period. DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINE or you will be denied relief. Additional options for recovery can include unjust enrichment or the remedies available under the law of constructive or resulting trusts to parties in domestic relationships and are a remedy common law spouses who lived together less than 2 years may claim under.
  • B.   Type of property matters – not all property is family property as some property is excluded partly from sharing meaning we have family property ( presumptively shared equally), excluded property ( not shared with minimal exceptions) and a special class of family property being the “gains” made during a relationship on the excluded property which is presumptively shared equally.
  • C.   BC family property includes all types of property owned by a spouse at the date of separation, as well as property acquired after the date of separation from family property including:
  • interests in a corporation, a partnership, an association, an organization, a business or a venture
  • professional practices,
  • real estate
  • personal property such as cars, art, and jewelry;
  • investments and stocks;
  • stock options
  • accounts receivable;
  • bank accounts
  • family trusts and discretionary trust interests
  • a spouse’s entitlement under an annuity, a pension, a retirement savings plan, or an income plan; and
  • the family property also includes the amount by which excluded property has increased in value following the commencement of the spousal relationship.
  • D.   BC excluded property includes all property owned by a spouse at the commencement of the spousal relationship, certain classes of property acquired during the relationship such as
  • gifts,
  • inheritances;
  • certain personal injury awards;
  • certain insurance policy proceeds; and
  • The excluded property also includes property bought with the excluded property.

WARNING!Gifts of excluded property can lead to real confusion and may cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars because the law in BC is unclear on whether you do or do not lose the exclusion. Call us before “gifting” of this nature to ensure you understand the consequences of the proposed gifting.

Can You Give Me An Example Of Vancouver Family Property Division? 1 877 602 9900

Here is an example -Carol brings a home she owns into the marriage in 1990 with a value at the start of the marriage of $500,000 and Bob and Carol divorce in 2019 when the house is sold for 5 million dollars. Carol’s home was owned by her before she met Bob so it is an excluded asset. But BC “excluded property” is a bit of a misnomer because ONLY the starting value of $500,000 is excluded and the rest – the gain of $4,500,000 is family property and shared equally. So Carol receives $500,000 plus her half of $4,500,000 being 2,250,000 for a total of 2,750,000 and Bob receives $2,250,000. In fast-rising stock or real estate markets big gains can occur in very short periods of time.

What Date Is Used In Vancouver Family Property Division? 1 877 602 9900

In Vancouver Family Property Division cases the value of the property is based on fair market value, and the default date for the determination of value is the date of the trial or agreement dividing family property and family debt. Market increase or decrease after separation will likely be shared equally although gains or losses made solely by one party’s efforts or malfeasance may lead to the court using a different date than that of trial. Our Vancouver family property division lawyers are also pleased to see courts now more frequently giving credit for tax consequences or other costs arising on sales such as conveyance fees and realtors’ commissions if satisfied that the disposition of property will take place at a particular time in the future and are not speculative. Remember a tax-free primary residence has no tax while a company’s assets can often only be paid out with a heavy tax burden.

If You Have Questions About:

  • Vancouver family property division and family debt division;
  • equal or unequal Vancouver family property division;
  • valuation experts and date of valuation issues; or
  • high net worth family property including businesses and trust interests;

Contact our experienced Vancouver Family Property Division lawyers today toll-free at 1 877 602 9900