Focus On
NEW In-House Counsel | Insurance | Intellectual Property | Immigration | Natural Resources | Real Estate | Tax



Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Put a financial planner in your settlement toolbox

Financial planners, like lawyers, must be particularly sensitive to their clients’ life-changing events such as marriage, separation and divorce. The collaboration of financial planners and family law practitioners can be essential to ensuring the best outcomes for our clients while dispelling their fears at a very emotional time in their lives. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Using joint family venture to divide unmarried assets

When unmarried or common-law couples separate in Canada, an important issue that generally needs to be addressed is how the property and assets that have accumulated during the relationship will get divided. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Payor income hike doesn't always increase support

Marriage is, among other things, an economic partnership. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Family Law - Maintenance and support - Child support - Considerations - Ability to pay - Incomes over $150,000 - Agreement - Income of parties’ spouses - Child support guidelines

Appeal by the mother from the dismissal of her application for increased child support for the parties’ three children. The parties separated in 2011 after 10 years of marriage. In 2012, they entered into a separation agreement. The separation agreement provided for joint custody and equal parenting of the children, who were nine, 10 and 12 years old. The agreement provided for the father to pay monthly child support of $7,900, reviewable in 2015, and equal sharing of extraordinary expenses. Both parties had since remarried. The father was an investment advisor with an income of $775,149. His new wife had no income. The mother worked as an executive assistant with an income of $58,593. Her new husband’s income was $379,656. They also rented out a suite in their home. In October 2015, the mother brought an application to increase child support to $11,400 per month in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines (Guidelines). The judge dismissed the mother’s application for increased child support finding that the child support paid by the father sufficiently covered the expenses that could be reasonably attributable to the children. She also found that the mother’s husband’s income and their rental income were relevant extra income available to her. She further found that any amount above the current child support would be a transfer of wealth as between the two parties. She ordered the father’s child support obligation to continue at $7,900. The mother appealed, arguing that the trial judge erred by treating her application as an application to vary child support, by failing to apply the principles embodied in s. 4 of the Guidelines and inappropriately applying s. 9(c) of the Guidelines in such a manner as to relieve the husband of his support obligations. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 15, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Domestic contracts and separation agreements - Interpretation - Practice and procedure - Orders - Variation or amendment of orders - Changed circumstances

Appeal by the husband from a decision dismissing his application for increased spousal support and the fixing of child support arrears to be paid by the wife. The parties married in 1989, had two children, and separated in 2006. Shortly after the birth of the parties’ first child, the husband took on the role of primary child care provider and homemaker while the wife worked full-time outside of the home. The husband had not worked full-time since 1993. Following separation, the parties executed a separation agreement. The wife’s income was stated to be $65,068, and the parties agreed the wife would pay the husband $1,017 per month in spousal support. The agreement provided for a review of spousal support if the wife had a material change in her income. Following separation, the wife’s overall income increased. The wife claimed that this was because she increased the number of hours she worked to earn enough money to pay for the children’s education. The chambers judge found that the parties intended and agreed that there would be no upward adjustment in quantum regardless of any increases in the wife’s income and, accordingly, held the spousal support review provision was not triggered. She also found it was in the parties’ contemplation that the wife’s income would increase if she accepted more work. The husband submitted the judge erred in her interpretation of the agreement’s spousal support provisions and in declining to award retroactive child support prior to the date of effective notice of his claim. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 15, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Family Law - Custody and access - Considerations - Expert report or assessment - Primary residence - Practice and procedure - Appeals

Appeal by the husband from a judgment in favour of the wife on the issues of custody and property equalization. The parties married in 2000 and separated in 2011. They had two children. Following a nine-day trial in 2014, the judge granted the wife primary residence with generous access for the husband, determined the husband’s child support obligation, and directed the husband to make an equalization payment totaling $43,092 in favour of the wife. The husband’s request for a constructive trust claim against the wife’s mother in respect of her interest in the matrimonial home was refused. The husband appealed the aspects of the judgment related to custody and equalization. The husband submitted that the judge wrongly disregarded an investigator’s report from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) recommending sole custody in his favour. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 01, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Family Law - Maintenance and support - Spousal support - Considerations - Compensatory support - Effect of parties’ subsequent relationships - Economic disadvantage of marriage - Variation or termination of obligation

Appeal by the husband from a decision dismissing his application for termination of spousal support. The parties lived together from 1973 to 1976, married in 1976, separated in 1996, and divorced in 1997. Their three adult children were living independently. The wife took time out of the workforce to have the parties’ children, and returned to work on a part-time basis to continue assuming care of the children. In 1997, the wife left the workforce due to symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The husband obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration and his Chartered Accountant designation during the course of the marriage. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the husband earned $660,723, $548,889 and $614,658 respectively. The parties entered into a settlement in 1997 and included an agreed amount of spousal support in the amount of $2,350 per month. The terms of the settlement provided for a review in the event that the wife’s share of her father’s estate exceeded $200,000. The review was ultimately heard and it was ordered that the spousal support remain at $2,350. The wife was cohabitating with a new partner at his home. The wife’s income without spousal support was $42,300. The husband retired in 2014 and his total income was $135,000 per year. The husband had approximately $1,500,000 in assets, and the wife had approximately $1,350,000, not including any future interest in her father’s estate. The chambers judge held that the spousal support award was compensatory and entitlement was ongoing. He essentially found that compensation had not been achieved because of the low amount of spousal support the wife received over the years in comparison to what the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines recommended. The husband submitted that the chambers judge failed to first consider the issue of entitlement to spousal support before considering quantum. ... [read more]

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Free women's legal clinic an instant hit

A free legal clinic for women in Vancouver hopes to fill a much-needed void in the system while helping law students earn their stripes. ... [read more]

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Family Law - Child protection - Protective agencies and institutions - Permanent crown wardship - Considerations - Best interests of the child - Parents’ ability to provide stable environment - Appeals

Not Applicable  ... [read more]

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 8:00 PM

Custody and access - Contest between parents and non-parents – Rights of non-parents - Grandparents - Practice and procedure - Appeals and judicial review - Stay of order pending appeal

Motion by the mother for a stay of a grandparent access order pending her appeal. The child was 2.5 years old. The child’s father had passed away from cancer the preceding year. The father’s parents sought to maintain a relationship with the child. The mother disputed the extent of the access sought by the child’s grandparents following a dispute over the father’s estate. A May 2016 order provided for two hour visits every ten days. The mother was entitled to be present at visits until July 2016. Between August and November 2016, the visits would increase to four hours every ten days. From December 2016 onward, the grandparents were entitled to access for six hours one day per alternating weekend. The mother appealed, listing 13 grounds of appeal alleging procedural errors that hindered her ability to state her case. She sought a stay of the order pending her appeal. ... [read more]