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Kelowna Family Lawyers

Maclean Law helps you in avoiding costly BC excluded property mistakes. Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes means spouses must know the consequences of  BC excluded property mistakes in advance of any relationship breakdown. Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes requires spouses who have, or who have received excluded property, to take active steps to protect themselves during the relationship and not after.

Avoiding costly multi-million dollar mistakes, and ensuring what you brought in to a relationship, or received as a gift from family members, remains protected means you need to be educated on how BC family property and excluded property works. A new BC Court of Appeal case shows how devastating the consequences are for a spouse who compromises their excluded property rights can be. Our family lawyers have been top rated by Top Choice Awards for the last 8 years a the threebestrated in Vancouver, top 25 lawyers in Canadian lawyer Magazine, the top leader by BIV Business 500 for leading business leaders in BC and more.

To be clear do not ever place excluded property in joint names unless you want to share it equally!  604 602 9000

Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes
BIV BC 500 leading family lawyer Lorne MacLean, KC

Lorne MacLean, KC and Fraser MacLean created this blog to save you millions of dollars or conversely to protect a spouse who received a gift of exclude property. Our Vancouver excluded property lawyers  successfully handle high net worth cases across BC, Calgary and in Toronto.

Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes  604 602 9000

Fraser MacLean  focuses on helping clients in multi million dollar high net worth excluded property cases and he highlights a recent Court of Appeal Decision in Hannon v. Hopson 2022 BCCA 314 that covers the important topic of excluded property and how things can go terribly wrong for a spouse who receives or has excluded property.

Hannon explores the “thorny question” of whether excluded property that is transferred from one spouse into the other’s name thereby becomes family property.

If you are unsure of what to do with excluded property before or once you are married and whether you have entered into a “marriage like relationship” and would like to discuss how you can protect your assets in the event of a breakdown in your relationship, reach out to MacLean Law today. Our Vancouver excluded property lawyers can help you set up an initial consultation with one of British Columbia’s premier Family Law firms.

Vancouver Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes  604 602 9000

This case explores the following:

  • Excluded property
  • Family property
  • Jurisdiction
  • Marriage-like relationship/ common law
  • Gifts


[3]             The parties were never married, but the judge found that they lived in a marriage-like relationship continuously from 2001 to 2015. That issue was hotly contested at trial, but that finding is not challenged on appeal. The issues raised at trial, in addition to whether the parties lived in a marriage-like relationship, included: whether the “proper law of the relationship” was that of England or British Columbia; what property was family property and what was excluded property; whether it would be significantly unfair to divide the family property equally; and whether Ms. Hopson was entitled to spousal support. The judge gave detailed reasons setting out her findings on credibility and on the contested issues. The judge found neither the appellant nor the respondent to be reliable or credible witnesses. On appeal, the appellant does not challenge the findings of fact, nor does he take issue with the judge’s conclusions other than her determination that it would not be significantly unfair to divide the family property equally. Given the narrow focus of the appeal, I will not describe the background except as necessary to consider the errors alleged.


[84]         To summarize my conclusion on this argument, it is the nature and extent of a spouse’s contribution of formerly-excluded property, considered in light of all of the relevant circumstances (along with the specified factors under s. 95(2)), that is relevant to a decision as to whether it would be significantly unfair to divide family property equally. The fact that formerly-excluded property became family property does not, by itself, mean that it would be unfair, let alone significantly unfair, to divide family property equally. Rather, as with any kind of contribution to the family property and finances, a judge must consider the extent of the spouse’s contribution of formerly-excluded property in light of the relevant circumstances and factors to decide whether equal division would result in significant unfairness.


What You Need To Know On Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes 

  • After a 19-day trial, the judge dismissed the appellant’s excluded property claims and his claim for an unequal division of family property.
  • The parties had a 14-year relationship that began in the United Kingdom. They were never married and moved to British Columbia in 2012, shortly before the Family Law Act received royal assent.
  • In 2010, the appellant received a substantial settlement for a medical negligence claim. The judge found that the appellant gifted the settlement funds to the respondent and that a home purchased in 2014, using those funds, was family property. This was a catastrophic error that we need spouses to understand should never occur by a voluntary mistake.
  • On appeal, the appellant argues that the judge erred in concluding that it was not significantly unfair to divide family property equally. He submits that the judge erred in her treatment of the settlement funds and in according no weight to the difference between the family property regimes in the United Kingdom and British Columbia. He also applies to adduce fresh evidence. Held: Application to adduce fresh evidence and appeal dismissed.
  • The judge did not err in her analysis of the factors relevant to the economic characteristics of the parties’ relationship under s. 95(2) of the Family Law Act. She appropriately considered the appellant’s contribution of the settlement funds, along with the other financial contributions of the parties.
  • The judge did not err in her consideration of the fact that the parties commenced their relationship under a different family property regime. She appropriately examined the legitimate and reasonable expectations of the parties during their relationship prior to their move to British Columbia. That consideration necessarily includes a significant subjective component.

New Arguments For Division Of Excluded Property  604 602 9000

This new BC Appeal Court decision clearly raises the question of when excluded property may be divided when there is a contribution by the other spouse to the excluded property. If you have questions on how excluded property is dealt with, Contact our top rated family lawyers to help you in Avoiding Costly BC Excluded Property Mistakes.