A sad but necessary questions - Bankruptcy lawyer

Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 9:12 PM
Subject: A sad but necessary questions
David -
I hate to ask you this, but are there differences in the way divorces are handled in the US vs. Canada?   What are some of the considerations?
I particularly would like to know which Country would be the better venue for someone such as myself: male with a certain amount of assets being under consideration.   Needless-to-say, I'd want it to be worked out between us and not go before a court, but I can't assume that'll be what will happen.
I would prefer to have it handled up here if it comes to that, which is looking likely.
Also - we have no children, but there is a cat that I'd at least like to have visitation rights with (I'm serious).
It's not been easy lately, and I appreciate any advice you might have.
Thanks very much!!
Hope all is well with you and yours!
david ingram replies:
The problem is not just Canada and the US, it depends upon what provincial and/or State jurisdiction you have to deal with.
For instance, there are likley 13 different sets of  Community Property laws in the US and some states frown on spousal support, others limit it to three years, and others routinely hand out spousal support for life "just" because.
BC does NOT have community property as the states of California and Washington do.
In BC, the person who looks like they own something owns it.  However on a triggereing event taking place, everything that can be considered a "Family" asset.  The family home and a family business are usually considered a family asset.  Pension Plans, the Canada Pension, RRSP accounts and othre savings plans usually become family assets "unless" a person can prove that no part of that asset was "ever" used for family purposes.  
This usually arises when Mom or Dad has recieved  an inheritance which was left in a separate account and no money was ever taken out of it to buy groceries or pay for a vacation to Disneyland or fix the roof.
The triggering action is also important.
A husband or wife can be living in a marital relationship with another person and no triggering event has taken place.
A triggering event is an official document which can be:
1.    An actual divorce
2.    A legal separation
3.    An Annulment
4.    A Judicial order   
Visitation of a dog, cat or horse is not remotely unusual.  Better to be friendly however than spelt out in a document in my opinion.
However, I am not the one to talk to for specifics even if I did own a Divorce Service 30 years ago.  everything has changed.
You should talk to a lawyer who knows the law well.
David Bellamy was my lawyer in my recent divorce.  I was also hoping we could just split everything down the middle but it did not work out that way.  I found David's  advice on target with no animosity intended or sent.
His phone number is (604) 662-8900 and I know he is dealing with another US / Canada situation as I write this.
His email address is dbellamy at bellamy.bc.ca
I was also going through a highly publicized bankruptcy at the time (not unusual for marriages to break up during a bankruptcy) and Murray Morrison at (604) 930-9013 was a godsend and worked closely with David Bellamy.
Murray is at:
morrocolaw at telus.net
On the other hand, if you had children involved with a custody or visitation rights problem, I would send you to Carey Linde at (604) 684-7794 or email him at 
clinde at netlegal.com
As with every thing there is usually someone who is better or more experienced or more interested in a topic.
David Ingram's US/Canada Services
US/Canada/Mexico Tax Immigration & working Visa Specialists
US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
4466 Prospect Road
North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
Calls accepted from 10 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week
Res (604) 980-3578 Cell (604) 657-8451
Bus (604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325
www.centa.com www.david-ingram.com
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