To finish the year, let’s look at amendments to the FLA that clarified what counts as “excluded property” in the family property calculation. Generally, these are the assets that one spouse owned before the relationship started, gifts and inheritances made exclusively to one spouse during the relationship, as well as certain kinds of insurance payouts or trust property.
For property division, when excluded property appreciates in value over the course of the relationship, only the increase in value must be shared between the parties on separation.
The new FLA amendments eliminated the “presumption of advancement,” a legal doctrine traditionally used to strip property of its excluded status when transferred from husband to wife.
In recent years, the principle has only caused uncertainty. The result is that excluded property now remains excluded, regardless of any transfer between spouses.
The changes took effect on May 11, 2023, and are not retroactive, which means that the new definitions will only apply to any legal proceedings about the division of property launched after that date. If you had filed a case in court before May 11 this year, your case will proceed under the old version of the law.
If you’re unsure which version of the law will apply in your case, feel free to contact me or another member of our family law team. Legal advice is a must following a legislative change like this one, since it’s likely the courts will be called on to settle disputes over its application in the near future.
In the meantime, I look forward to guiding you through the latest family law developments in B.C. in 2024. Happy holidays, and I will see you back here in the new year!