Court Finds ICBC Settlement "Not a Family Asset" in Divorce Proceedings
While there is no ‘one size fits all‘ answer to the question of whether a personal injury settlement is a family asset in divorce proceedings, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, highlighting¬†circumstances¬†where it is not.
In this week’s case (Shen v. Tong) the parties ‘lived in a marriage-like relationship‘ since 2004 and were married in 2008. ¬†In 2004 the Respondent was injured in a collision and she¬†subsequently¬†settled her ICBC claim in 2006. ¬†The funds were invested and still available at the time of the Divorce and the Claimant sought an order declaring this money as a family asset. ¬†Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein refused and provided the following reasons:
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Ms.¬†Tong’s position is her ICBC settlement is not a family asset.¬† It was largely for general damages and of the $13,564 for past wage, about half this time was before their relationship started.¬† Ms.¬†Tong invested the settlement proceeds and never used them for a family purpose. ¬†She maintained she wanted to save the award for her recovery but she did not have to use it for that purpose as she had Mr.¬†Shen’s benefits.¬† She sent the invested proceeds, now $60,000, to her parents in China in January 2012.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The ICBC settlement is not a family asset.¬† Ms.¬†Tong does not have to account for what amounts to a negligible wage loss claim.