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Are BC Injury Settlements Subject To Family Law Claims? (Video Blog)

Are BC Injury Settlements Subject to Family Law Claims? (Video Blog)

If you are splitting up with your spouse, what happens to your personal injury settlement may be the least of your concerns, however, there are significant financial consequences if steps are not taken to protect the award from family law claims.

The law in BC presumes that all family property will be divided equally.  Personal injury awards or settlements are excluded from family property and may be kept entirely by the spouse who won it, save for one important exception.  Any portion of the settlement that is to compensate for income lost during the relationship is not excluded and must be divided as family property.  Anything else, such as compensation for pain and suffering or medical care or expenses, does not have to be divided.

Lost income can, depending on the circumstances, make up quite a large proportion of a personal injury settlement, potentially making this an area of disagreement and even future litigation as you move forward with ending your relationship.  The legal burden is on the spouse who received the settlement to show what portion of the settlement did not come as compensation for lost income that would have been earned during the relationship.  There have been past court decisions in BC where entire injury settlements were divided up as family property because a spouse couldn’t meet this burden and couldn’t show how the money was allocated.

To fully protect your claim from property division during a break up, you will need to have evidence as to how a settlement amount was achieved and how the numbers were arrived at.  In usual circumstances, preserving this information may be of a much lesser concern to your lawyers than their goal of achieving a fair global amount to compensate you for your injury.  If you have an ongoing personal injury claim and you think you may be separating from your spouse, make sure to let your personal injury lawyer know right away so they can take steps to keep your settlement as far as possible from any potential family law claims.

We hope you have learned something from this week’s video blog.  Please feel free to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notice of our future weekly video blogs on the law.

Andrew Broadley is a lawyer practicing in League and Williams’ Victoria, BC based office with experience in personal injury and estate disputes.  If you are in need of legal assistance contact our office at 250-888-0002 or via email at  We offer free consultations and do not get paid until you settle your claim.

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