The dream for many men and women in British Columbia is to marry, raise children and live happily ever after with their family. For some, however, the dream does not last. A divorce may mean the end of the family unit as it was, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of good child-rearing or a positive family dynamic. By starting from a nonconfrontational position, perhaps through a collaborative law approach to the divorce, parents can build a new family based on cooperation, and placing the child’s needs first.
A family in the United States gained a measure of fame recently from a family photograph that went viral. The picture shows a little girl in her soccer uniform flanked by four adults. All five are wearing the same number, but the adults each have something extra on their shirts. Instead of a surname on the back, one shirt spells out “Mommy,” another says, “Daddy,” and the group is completed with, “Step Dad” and “Step Mom.”
After the parents of the girl separated, they made the conscious decision to work together to raise their daughter, despite no longer being together. They extended that decision to include their respective spouses, and the four are in regular contact, with the parents making life choices for their daughter together, and all four supporting her in every way they can. In an interview, the mom made it clear that they choose to respect everyone involved in their daughter’s life, believing it to be a reflection of who they are as parents.
While this type of blended family may not be for everyone, placing a child’s needs first after a divorce should be every parent’s goal. If one chooses a litigated divorce, it may be difficult to ever see the other parent in anything other than an adversarial light. A collaborative law divorce, on the other hand, gives two parents the chance to settle their differences cooperatively, but still in a legally binding fashion. An experienced lawyer who advocates alternative dispute resolution in British Columbia can help anyone who wants to explore this path.
The real estate market in British Columbia inflated beyond anyone’s expectations recently, and home values are at historic highs. For some homeowners, it’s like a dream come true. For those men and women going through a divorce, however, it may not be such good news. Even in a non-confrontational divorce using collaborative law, it might not be possible to hang on to the marital home.
When two people divorce in BC, they split their assets evenly. This includes the value of the family home. In order for one person to keep the home, either that person must buy out the other person’s share, or the other person receives equal value in additional assets. If the home is worth far more than it once was, however, neither of these scenarios may be possible.
It might be impossible for either party to pay half the value of the home to the other party on a single income if the home has significantly increased in value. Additionally, there may not be enough value in the remaining assets to compensate the party who gives up the house. It may be that the only possible course of action is to sell the home and split the profit.
A divorce can be an emotionally difficult process to go through even in the best of circumstances. Giving up one’s home may be the last thing one wishes to do. Whether a couple chooses a collaborative law divorce or opts to follow a different path, a British Columbia family lawyer can help either party in a search for solutions to pressing problems.
Source: The Globe and Mail, “Realtors find a niche in clients who are getting divorced“, Rob Csernyik, May 5, 2017