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Vancouver and Edmonton Family Law Blog

Family debts and separation. How having a lawyer can protect your financial interests.

If there's debt, make sure you have a lawyer

In an earlier post,  I explained why it is important to have a lawyer for a separation agreement even if the two parties have agreed on everything. It is even more important to have a lawyer represent you if either party has a lot of debt going into a separation. Here are a some scenarios where debt is an important factor to consider and how a lawyer can help protect your interests.

Form 8 Financial Statements - A step-by-step overview.

One of the most daunting tasks a lawyer can assign a client is the completion of a Form 8 Financial Statement (in the case of a Provincial Court action, this is called a Form 4 Financial Statement). The Form 8 Financial Statement is a summary of a person's income, expenses and assets and is required by the BC Supreme Court Family Rules to be filed in every family law court action. My experience as a paralegal over the past 10 years is that clients can become so overwhelmed at the thought of completing the form that they simply just don't do it. This is not helpful for your lawyer, for the opposing counsel, for the courts or even for yourself. In the end, your lawyer will to have to force you to complete the Form 8 Financial Statement with them, something which will only increase your legal fees.

Top Tips for Form 8 Financial Statements

What exactly is a Form 8 and what is it meant to achieve?

A Form 8 Financial Statement is a Supreme Court form used in British Columbia by family law litigants to exchange financial information.  It has 6 parts: 1) Income, 2) Expenses, 3) Property, 4) Special or Extraordinary Expenses, 5) Undue Hardship and 6) Income of Other Persons in Household. The Form 8 Financial Statement is a crucial document in litigation because it provides a condensed summary of the financial circumstances of the litigant.  Because of the form's usefulness, BC family lawyers often will exchange Form 8 Financial Statements with opposing counsel during settlement negotiations.  Whether in litigation or negotiations, the importance of a well-drafted Form 8 Financial Statement to a family law case cannot be understated. Whether you are preparing your own Form 8 Financial Statement or you are working with your BC family lawyer, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Documents Important in Divorce Proceedings, Part II

In Part 1 of “Ten Documents You Should Keep Close If You’re Getting A Divorce”, we discussed the importance of documents in divorce proceedings including: financial account statements, property documents, marriage documents, corporate records and agreements, contracts and court orders.  In this installment we will review five more documents which may be vital in a divorce.

 6. Passports

Where there is any question as to the residence of children in a relationship, or the possibility that a spouse might decide to travel with the children to a foreign jurisdiction without the other spouse’s permission, it is prudent to keep tabs on the children’s passports and to ensure that they are secured in a location where they can be used only with both parties’ permission. If you have any concerns about a spouse potentially travelling without authorization with your children, we urge you to contact a family lawyer in your jurisdiction. We can help you if you are based in Vancouver or Edmonton.

Ten Documents You Should Keep Close When You're Getting A Divorce, Part I

Besides being emotional benchmarks in people's lives, divorces are often cause to evaluate and come to terms with finances.  Because of this, our Vancouver and Edmonton divorce lawyers suggest that when contemplating divorce or separation, people should collect together and keep safe documents and things that could make the process faster, easier and less confrontational.  Whether you are contemplating a divorce in Alberta or a British Columbia, gathering together this documentation will make the process simpler.

Disclosure and Non-Disclosure: A Vital Factor in Family Law

Duty to disclose and steps to taken when a spouse refuses to provide financial information

Full financial disclosure is an essential element to the resolution of any family claim involving support orders or the division of property.  "Non-disclosure or delayed disclosure of financial information is a costly impediment to the timely and just disposition of family disputes."[i]  In Cunha v. Cunha, 1994 (BCSC), Mr. Justice Fraser described non-disclosure at para. 9:

Understand your legal options. Make informed decisions. Contact the family law lawyers of Henderson Heinrichs LLP


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