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Procedural rules that govern jurisdictional issues are complex. We will tenaciously pursue your claims in collaboration with foreign experts.

  • What are jurisdictional issues?

  • What makes these issues especially complex?

  • Which is the right jurisdiction for our divorce or separation?

  • How do you deal with such issues?

  • Why is MacLean Law best equipped to help resolve jurisdictional issues?

  • What are MacLean Law’s recent victories in court?

What are jurisdictional issues?

Jurisdictional issues include any issues involving a family law issue that may involve jurisdiction outside of BC (or whichever province your lawsuit is in). The jurisdictional issue could be a property located in China, an agreement signed in the US, your child residing outside BC, or your spouse’s company operating or owning assets in Singapore, just to name a few. Below are just some of the jurisdictional issues we deal with:

  • Enforcing or defending against a court order obtained, or an agreement signed in another country;
  • Deciding the the most favourable place for custody, support and family property and dealing with valuation and division of property;
  • Obtaining orders in Canada and enforcing them against spouses in other countries;
  • Tracing or imputing properties hidden in other countries;
  • Obtaining orders when children were unilaterally removed from one country from, or to, Canada;
  • Dividing family property around the world in the most favourable fashion for you; and
  • Proving income and obtaining child and spousal support from someone living in another country.

What makes these issues especially complex?

Jurisdictional issues are particularly complex for several reasons.

First, they require you to consider and deal with the laws in multiple countries at the same time. To obtain the best outcome, you must understand all the foreign laws potentially applicable to your case, and how different legal systems work together. There are many crucial questions you must answer at the very initial stage of your case, such as:

  • Can I sue in another country, and if so, what would the outcome be?
  • What are the tax consequences if my spouse buys out my shares in our company based in another country?
  • Where do I get the most favourable child and spousal result?

Second, there are practical and logistical considerations. For example:

  • How to obtain key evidence in another country, such as the value of a company or obtaining records of hidden transactions?
  • Do you need to fly back and forth if you want to sue in BC and live in Beijing for example, or if you decide to litigate in both countries (which may be the correct decision in some cases)?

Finally, procedural rules that govern jurisdictional issues are extremely complex and unforgiving. One seemingly small misstep, even an unintentional one, can easily lead to losing the entire case and millions of dollars in assets.

Which is the right jurisdiction for our divorce or separation?

When Vancouver, BC, or Calgary separating spouses have connections to multiple jurisdictions, there can be a dispute about which is the right jurisdiction for the divorce or separation to proceed in. The choice of one jurisdiction over another can, and often will have enormous implications: BC and Alberta courts have broad powers to bring about a fair financial result on divorce or separation, many other jurisdictions are inflexible or provide a far less generous financial provision.

If you or your spouse has connections to multiple jurisdictions, you need to act fast by obtaining early expert high net worth international separation advice followed by prompt and decisive action to secure the most favourable jurisdiction for you.

How do you deal with such issues?

At MacLean Law when we start on a case that potentially involves jurisdictional issues, our first step is to conduct a preliminary analysis to identify:

  • Issues that can be litigated in more than one jurisdiction;
  • The relevant laws of those potential jurisdictions;
  • The range of outcomes.

Based on the analysis, we will formulate an action plan to allow us to advance your case effectively, and obtain the most favourable result for you and your children. We can frequently complete these two steps quickly, in some cases even during an initial consultation, owing to our constant exposure to, and vast experience in these issues.

Once the strategy is set, we will tenaciously and aggressively pursue your claims in cooperation with reliable foreign experts with whom we have established strong relationships, and litigate in multiple countries if need be.

Why is MacLean Law best equipped to help resolve jurisdictional issues?

MacLean Law is very experienced in jurisdictional issues, and we’re committed to obtaining the best results for our clients.

For over 35 years, promoting culture, diversity and commitment to excellence have been the fundamental values of MacLean Law. Our lawyers and support staff come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, speak multiple languages fluently, and are all passionate about bringing the best results to our clients. We also have one of Canada’s largest Mandarin and Cantonese speaking family law and estate litigation legal teams.

What are MacLean Law’s recent victories in court?

Under sage leadership of Lorne MacLean Q.C., we have won a series of inter-jurisdiction cases – $100,000 per month against a neurosurgeon, $16,000 for child support and obtained record-breaking results for our clients.

For example, in D V. D 2017 BCSC 1010, we obtained interim support of nearly $100,000 per month who works and resides in Singapore (about $20,000 for child support and $65,000 for spousal support, plus special expenses), and an interim advance of $400,000 from family property. We obtained a further $400,000 as an interim advance in 2018. This case D V. D 2017 BCSC 1010 set the new record in BC and has been frequently used as an authority for high net worth cases.

More recently in the same case (D v. D 2019 BCSC 661), we obtained a record-breaking outcome for our client, which included spousal support and child support payments of $116,000 converted to a lump sum of about $6,000,000 after a 30-day trial.

In Wang v. Jiang, 2016 BCSC 2461, we obtained a judgement to imprison the husband for up to 6 months for contempt of court and perjury after an “ambush search” of his factory pursuant to a rare search warrant we obtained the day before, uncovered key evidence of his hiding income and funnelling funds to China. We also obtained a judgement for special costs of about $300,000.

In Li v Rao, 2018 BCSC 142, we successfully argued that the fact that the parties’ marriage was invalid does not prevent the wife from obtaining spousal support and property division from the husband, a multi-millionaire from China.

Subsequently, in Li v. Rao 2018 BCSC 47, we obtained an extremely rare order that prohibits the husband from taking any further action in an arbitration process in that country.

In Fan v. Zhang, 2015 BCSC 2352, a forensic audit was ordered after Lorne MacLean Q.C pointed out suspect financial disclosure by the husband.