Category Archives: Updates

10 Legal Mistakes People Make During Divorce (And How Not To Make Them!)

What’ s the worst mistake you ever made? For a lot of people, the answer to that question involves their divorce. They settled for too little. They fought for too long. They didn’t understand how their actions would end up affecting their children. They didn’t realize that the legal mistakes they made during their divorce could haunt them for years, and sometimes for decades, afterwards.

The good news is, you don’t have to make the same mistakes that so many other people make. With a little bit of knowledge, and a fair amount of self-discipline and emotional strength (and, yes, you really are much stronger than you think, even when you are going through hell!) you can avoid the….

Top 10 legal mistakes people make during divorce. 

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6 Secrets to Successful Single Parenting

Making the transition from married to single life won’t be easy for you or your children, but it can be an exciting time of personal growth. Your divorce can be seen as a transforming event, and you alone are responsible for creating a new kind of family for you and your children.

As a single parent, it is of primary importance that you help your children cope with your divorce and develop a mindset of being a positive role model for them. In order to do this, you must take care of yourself. Parents who take control of their own lives, with courage and resilience, help their children do the same. Single parenting is not for wimps. It draws on every ounce of energy from you, forcing you to become a more compassionate person.

How can you embrace this time of your life as an opportunity? Continue reading……

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MYTH: “I have been told that when my child turns 12, they can decide where they would like to live.”

MYTH: “I have been told that when my child turns 12, they can decide where they would like to live.”

FACT:  Whenever the Court makes an order relating to parenting arrangements relating to a child, the court is obligated to make that decision in the best interests of the child.  In order to decide if a parenting arrangement is in a child’s best interest, it is necessary for the court to consider all of the factors that are set out in section 37 of the Family Law Act.  One of the factors set out in section 37 is “the child’s views, unless it would be inappropriate to consider them”.  This is the section which enables the courts to hear the child’s views on, for example, where they would like to live.  These views are often provided to the court by way of a brief Hear the Child interview conducted by a professional  or a more in-depth section 211 Views of the Child / Parenting Time Report.  Both of these reports are filed with the courts.

There has become a rule of thumb that the older the child is, the more appropriate it is for the courts to consider their views when determining a parenting arrangement.  Generally, children between 12 and 14 would have their views considered  by the court while the views of children over the age of 14 will be given more weight.  It is generally accepted that once the child is over 16, he or she can “vote with his or her feet”.    However, the Court will always consider each situation individually and would consider factors such as whether the child is mature enough to properly understand their views, and whether such views appear to be independent. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and all children are unique.  If your situation does not fall within general terms, it is always best to discuss your situation with a lawyer. Questions? Never hesitate to give us a call.


Co-Parenting Tips For The Holidays: Creating New Memories

One of the toughest times of year for family members following divorce is the holiday season. Let’s face it, it’s a challenge for parents to create new traditions and to let go of grudges and bad memories of past holidays. For the recently divorced parent, the holidays can be an emotional, stressful, and perhaps a lonely time of year – especially if they don’t have new traditions and support systems in place.

For children and adolescents, the holiday season can remind them that their family is now divided and can elicit loyalty conflicts because they may feel that they are pulled in every direction and will ultimately disappoint both of their parents. Children may worry that they won’t get their needs met and they can benefit from new traditions and activities to replace the memories of holidays in the past. Young children may be particularly vulnerable during the holiday season post-divorce because they crave and thrive with predictability and routine – which go out the window this time of year.

First and foremost, you need to do everything in your power not to intensify your children’s loyalty conflicts during the holiday season.

It’s wise to be flexible and understanding as you negotiate schedules – your children may feel torn between their parents’ two disparate worlds. Show compassion for your kids if they seem stressed or worried.  Remind them that it’s normal to feel more stress this time of year and you will help them to navigate through rocky patches any way you can.

Continue reading here…..

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4 Considerations for Holiday Child Custody Arrangements

Whether it is the father who needs an extra day of custody in order to match the round-trip tickets he has already purchased, or the mother who is trying to “keep up” with the gifts that the father is giving. Then there is the parent who is concerned his/her child isn’t going to cooperate with the custody schedule. Yes, there are far too many people who encounter a variety of problems around the holidays. With that in mind, we suggest 4 items parents prepare for to ensure that peace and harmony prevail and that the Yuletide season be as calm as possible.

Don’t Wait Until December to Figure Out Your Holiday Child Custody Schedule

Nothing is worse than leaving the exact holiday child custody schedule “up in the air” until December; then trying to negotiate a schedule on a race-against-time basis. If you are already divorced, or in the process of getting divorced, one of the first things you should have is a written agreement detailing when you have the children during the week, days off from school, and of course, the emotionally-charged holiday season. The more detailed the agreement, the better!

Don’t Try to Match Your Ex-Spouse’s Plans, Just Be Happy With Your Own

No two parents are ever going to have identical plans for the winter break for a number of reasons. First and foremost, ex-spouses typically have different access to funds to pay for vacations and/or have different ideas about how much money they should spend on vacations with the children. Whichever parent you are, whether you are the parent with nearly unlimited funds, or the parent with a strict budget for vacations, it is best to ignore whatever you ex is planning. Instead, focus on your time, and your plans, and what you would most enjoy doing with the children.

Let your ex-spouse do and spend whatever he/she wants to. The more you dwell on your ex’s plans, the less likely you are to be happy with yours. Winter break is an ideal time to catch up with your children; spend quality time with them, even if it is simply “doing nothing” time. Children can be overly scheduled. Simply relaxing and hanging out means quality time and that offers value to all of you as a family. Whatever you choose, the mere fact that you made plans, and then executed them, is more than enough to satisfy your children. They too are looking forward for that same catch-up, quality, and possibly “do nothing” time with you, too. With that in mind, pay careful attention to the next suggestion.

Let Your Children Have a Say in your Together-time Plans

Your children probably have opinions about how they’d like to spend their winter break. After all, it is their break from school, just as much as it your break from work. You should think about asking them what they are interested in doing. Even better: to avoid run-away expectations, do some research in advance and present two or three alternative plans which you have already priced and found acceptable. Let them have the final say on what plan you ultimately put in place. Kids like that! They want to be included. It makes them feel powerful, especially when they are being shuttled back and forth between parents. This precludes them from complaining because they were part of the “choice” process. That way there is not a whole lot of basis for blame.

Don’t Worry About Who Your Ex-Spouse is Going to be With When the Your Children Visiting

In most cases, your ex-spouse is going to make reasonable choices about which of their friends and relatives they are going to have your children around during the holidays. Really; truthfully, you need to recognize this, and honor this. Constant nit-picking and micro-management over who your children spend their time with when they are with the other parent is not fruitful. In fact, this dynamic distracts you from the parenting you should be doing.

If you are spending most of your energy trying to prevent your children from being with your ex-spouse’s family, you probably don’t have enough energy left to enjoy the time you have with them. Remember that you are always setting an example for your children. In light of that reality, always stop and ask yourself, is what you’re complaining about a personal beef or does it have real merit?

In sum, keep in mind what the season—that winter break—represents. It is a time for “goodwill and good tidings toward all humankind,” including your ex!  It may mean you foster a sense of “giving” as you go about negotiating your agreement.

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MYTH: “Upon separation, all assets are divided 50/50.”

MYTH: “Upon separation, all assets are divided 50/50.”

FACT: While the Family Law Act provides for a prima facie (on the face of it) equal division of assets and family debt at paragraph 81, this equal division is qualified by the words “subject to an agreement or order otherwise”.  This contemplates a variety of scenarios where an equal division would not occur including, but not limited to the following scenarios:

  1. The parties entered into an agreement (either a cohabitation agreement at the start of the relationship or a separation agreement at the end of the relationship) that provided for an unequal division of assets;
  2. There are excluded assets as defined under s.85 of the Family Law Act that go back to the person who originally owned them and are not included in the property split at all;
  3. The courts made an order under section 95 of the Family Law Act for an unequal division of assets after considering facts such as:

The length of the relationship;
The financial contributions of either party;
The non-financial contributions of either party, including as homemaker and/or primary carer of the children;
The future earnings of the parties;
Who will have primary care of the children moving forward
Any health issues of either party, or the children.

4. The parties agree to an unequal division of assets to satisfy lump sum spousal support.

Every circumstance is unique and in order to know what your rights are, it is important for each party to obtain independent legal advice at an early stage. If you have any questions Seeger Law is here to help 778 478 1168

MYTH: “If I leave the family home after separation, I will not be entitled to my share in that property.”

MYTH: “If I leave the family home after separation, I will not be entitled to my share in that property.” OR “if I’m not registered on title to the family home, I cannot make a claim to the family home”
FACT: There is no requirement that you must stay in the family home in order to maintain a financial interest in the property, we do not operate on “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. Our legislation defines family property as “all real and personal property on the date that the spouses separate that is owned by at least one spouse or that at least one spouse has a beneficial interest in”.  This means that if both spouses are on title to the home but one has moved out for any reason, the home is still family property.  It also means that if only one partner is registered on title, the home is still family property.  When parties separate, the situation is often volatile.  It may make sense for everyone’s comfort and safety that one party move out.  Rest assured that such a decision is not considered abandonment of your interest.  Make a decision about who lives where based upon considerations of how to reduce conflict.

If you have questions about your situation, please, never hesitate to give us a call 778 478 1168

Who needs a will? You do!

Who needs a will? Anyone with kids, with assets, who is over 19 …. Pretty much all of you out there!

Who has a will?  …… radio silence …

Even though I am a lawyer and practice in the area of wills and estates, I didn’t have a will for the longest time (bad lawyer!!).  I thought about this often and realized that while I can chat about estate planning and the importance of appointing a guardian for your kids and pets, when it actually came to facing my own immortality …. I choked!

I do have a will now, but the process got me thinking about how many people speak to me and say “oh yes, I need a will”, but it always get put to the end of “the list”.  Which is ironic because “the list” is usually made up of items that increase our wealth, look after our children and generally look after all of the things we need to protect both in life and death.  So having a will should be at the top of that list!!

A couple of interesting points about wills for you to mull over:

1.       British Columbia does not recognize holograph wills (except in very, very specific cases – and if you are not dying on the battlefield, you don’t fit into the circumstances!) so writing on a piece of paper that “I leave all my worldly goods to Skip the dog” just doesn’t cut it in British Columbia.

2.       If you use beneficiary designations on life insurance / RRSPs and other investment products, they do not go through your estate at your death and you do not pay probate fees on the value of these items.

3.       A will is automatically revoked upon marriage.

4.       Divorce revokes only the parts of your will that provides a gift or benefit to your ex.  Now many of us are happy of this by the time the divorce comes through … but if there is no one who is to get those gifts / benefits in place of your ex … where do they go?

5.       In British Columbia we have a statute called the “Wills Variation Act”.  It is a very old statute and the bane of many, however it creates a lot of work for lawyers.  The basic premise is that if you do not provide for a person to whom you owe an obligation (read: children and spouses – including estranged but not divorced spouses), those people can bring an action in Supreme Court for a portion of your estate.  It’s a pain and it’s specific to British Columbia, but if you are considering leaving out a child or in the process of getting divorced – see a lawyer to discuss how to protect your estate.

6.       If you make a direct gift to a minor child in your will (as opposed to creating a trust for the minor), the Public Guardian and Trustee will step in and manage that trust until the child turns of age.  The Public Guardian and Trustee is a government agency that is overworked and understaffed – your minor child’s trust will be managed at a cost and will be invested in accordance with the very specific rules set down by the PGT.  There is no discretion, there is limited flexibility and someone will be dealing with the government every time they want to use some of that gift.

7.       Finally, if you leave money to a disabled adult or child directly (as opposed to setting up a disability trust), you could actually cause them to lose some or all of their disability income.

So now that you are thinking of this, don’t put it at the end of the list – call us and set up an appointment to get this process going!!

Co-parenting? Summer break is almost here.

Well everyone, summer is on the way! Temperatures are heating up and soon the rattle of school buses down our city streets will come to a halt. Summer vacation is right around the corner & many of us will be taking to the sky and roads for some much needed vacation time! If you and your ex are sharing custody, please make sure that you have your summer parenting time schedule in place and any consents to travel are signed and ready to go. Customs officers are putting heavy importance on making sure that children aren’t entering and leaving the country without the consent of both parents these days. The last thing you would want is your family vacation to be spoiled by such an avoidable circumstance!

If you need some advice, or wish to revisit your custody arrangement never hesitate to  give us a call 🙂

Click here for info & consent forms to travel. 

Full time legal assistant position

We are looking for a new legal assistant to join our team.We are a small firm focusing on family law, corporate law and also wills & estates.

The purpose of this position is to provide full clerical, administrative and general office duties to meet the needs of the firm and clients.

This is full time position and wage will be competitive and based on experience.

Thank you for your interest in Seeger Law, we will be contacting persons of interest only.

Applications can be sent to