When Does a Common Law Marriage Come to an End

It is not always clear, even between the spouses themselves, when a common law marriage came to a legal end. The Courts have accordingly developed certain guidelines to assist them. The test of whether a relationship is at an end is objective; W.A.S. v. D.W.T., 2003… Read more

The Criteria of a Marriage-Like Relationship

The Criteria of a Marriage-Like Relationship

The criteria generally speaking for a marriage- like relationship are as follows, as recently laid out in  McFarlane v. Goodburn Estate 2014 BCSC 1449: The question of whether a couple is to be regarded as having had a marriage-like relationship can be answered having regard to… Read more

Common Law Spouse Criteria In British Columbia

What Qualifies as a Common Law Spouse in BC The legal issue as to whether or not a couple, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, when they purport to be common-law spouses of each other has increasingly become more common and at the same time… Read more

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage    45 If the parties to a marriage, solemnized in good faith and intended to be in compliance with the legislation, are not under a legal disqualification to contract such marriage and have lived together and cohabited as a… Read more

How To Handle Family Fights Re Aging Parents

The Smart Way To Handle Family Fights About Aging Parents Family conflicts can be so emotional and painful. As parents age, many problems can crop up among adult siblings and sometimes with the elder himself. Many of these problems arise from financial issues and caregiver… Read more

WESA Section 56 and Spouses

 WESA Section 56 and Spouses This is the fourth blog on the upcoming WESA legislation to be introduced March 13, 2014. The previous blogs on aspects of the new legislation were dated October 31, November 11, and November 30. There will be dramatic changes introduced… Read more

Dirty Family Secrets

  At age 37, actor Jack Nicholson learned that the person he had known as his life as his sister was actually his mother, and his “mother” was actually his grandmother. By the time he learned the truth, both had died without ever telling him… Read more

Seniors Beware of Care For Life Agreements

Seniors often fall victim to the best of intentioned Care For Life Agreements with a child, that often turn disastrous. I was recently retained by a senior who advanced over $400,000.00 to his only son and his wife. He did so on the understanding they… Read more

Common Law Marriage or Mere Housemates?

There is currently a good deal of litigation arising in estate disputes as to claims that lovers were spouses and not mere housemates. Historically the law did not recognize the claim of a common-law spouse against the estate of their deceased partner.  Indeed these relationships… Read more

Dysfunctional Families Are Everywhere

  Dysfunctional families are everywhere.   Some years ago the Vancouver Sun ran a feature on dysfunctional families and  reported that one in three British Columbians expect to be disinherited by their parents. Practising estate litigation for over 40 years, it is easy to believe… Read more

Beware Badly Drafted Separation Agreements re Future Estate Claims

In my experience many matrimonial practitioners may well do a very good job in their respective field, but upon drafting separation agreements to finalize the marriage, many of the agreements are very poorly drafted with respect to inheritance issues between the spouses that may arise… Read more

Sibling Rivalry – Mom Always Loved YOU Best

Sibling rivalry is rife in estate litigation and often comes to the fore with the death of the parents— particularly the last parent. Although some fortunate siblings may be the best of friends, that situation is obviously rare in our practices. One of our favourite… Read more

Do NOT Put Your Kids On Title Of Your Home

No Children On the Title Of Your Home After witnessing parents putting their children on title to their home as joint tenants for over 40 years, I have emphatically concluded that in almost every instance is a bad idea. While it sounds so simple that… Read more

“Marriage Like Relationship” Upheld

The criteria for a marriage like relationship was upheld in the Duga case. The courts have been grappling with the often difficult to determine issue of what is a marriage like relationship for several years. Many of the earlier decisions were difficult to reconcile, especially… Read more

No Constitutional Right To “Know One’s Sperm Donor

  The Supreme Court of Canada ruled there is no constitutional right to know one’s past by obtaining information on your own past from your sperm donor.   Pratten v Attorney General of BC and College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the Supreme Court of… Read more