Often in relationships, one spouse will make sacrifices or give up opportunities to support the other’s career. This could look like a spouse leaving a job to take care of children or moving so the other can pursue career opportunities. Spousal support is meant to share the financial consequences of raising children and address the economic disadvantages that might result from the family breakdown.
You may be entitled to spousal support depending on your situation, but it is not a right. You must make an agreement with the other party on the amount and duration of the support or make an application to the court to determine it for you.
Family Violence & Protection Orders
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.
Family violence or abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological. It can involve threats, intimidation, use of force, and manipulation. It is never the victim's fault and there are organizations out there to help. There are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Protection orders can be made in Provincial or Supreme Court under the Family Law Act. A protection order is designed to protect a family member, such as you or your child, from family violence by another family member. Another option is to apply for a Peace Bond under the Criminal Code. A Peace Bond can be made against anyone, even if they are not a family member.
VictimLink BC is a province-wide telephone help line for victims of family and sexual violence, and all other crimes. VictimLink BC is available free to people across BC and Yukon 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Dividing Property and Debt
Under the Family Law Act, there are two categories of property:
- Family property
- Excluded property
Family property is everything that you or your spouse acquired, separately or together, from the day your spousal relationship began to the date you separate. It does not matter whose name the family property is in. Examples of family property include: the family home, RRSPs and pensions, insurance and investments, and all forms of debt. When spouses separate, all family property is shared equally, unless the couple has an agreement or court order that says something else.
Some things are not considered family property. They are excluded from the rule that the property must be divided equally. Excluded property includes:
- Property one spouse owned before the relationship started
- Gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the relationship
- Some kinds of damage awards, insurance proceeds and trust property
If the value of excluded property increased during the relationship, that increase in value is considered family property and is divided equally.
It is important to get legal advice when dividing property. There are a range of free services and resources to help separating individuals reach agreements on key issues. See the Family Law Guidebook - Family Law Legal Help.