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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
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Question about BC Vehicle Registration and Insurance My

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Question about BC Vehicle Registration and Insurance

My husband moved to Vancouver from Calgary 4 years ago to start a new job and took his car with him. He has since also purchased a new car in BC which he registered and insured in Alberta. He continues to register and insure these vehicles in Alberta. Two years ago, just before I was to move to Vancouver to join him, he announced that he had a new life in Vancouver and was divorcing me. He fully intends to go through with the divorce and has now lived in Vancouver for over four years but we are currently only separated, not legally divorced.

My question regards XXXXX XXXXX if he is in an accident. Since he maintains his driver's license in Alberta and registers and insures the cars here, I am concerned that if he is in an accident that he may be denied coverage since he has not changed the vehicle registration and insurance to BC. And then if he is sued, I am concerned that anyone suing him may also sue me if they needed to cover extensive medical costs due to an injury. Would I be liable for his damages if this were to happen?

Tom Law :

Hello

Tom Law :

Your husband is playing fast and loose with the rules. If he is in an accident in BC, lives in BC but has an Alberta driver's license and Alberta insurance, he could be charged with offences for such and yes, the insurance company could deny coverage.

Tom Law :

Yes, if the accident was his fault, the innocent driver could find no insurance company to cover the loss unless they have uninsured driver insurance. If not, their remedy would be to sue the REGISTERED owners of the other vehicle.

Tom Law :

It sounds as though you are not a registered owner. Is you are let me know. Otherwise, the other party cannot sue you just because you are married to him. Marriage does not make one person responsible for the conduct of another. Just like debts of any other nature, you are not responsible for what he owes unless it is a family debt.

Tom Law :

On your facts, you have no liability for his improper actions.

Tom Law :

Please let me know if you need more information. Otherwise, please consider rating my answer well.

Tom Law :

Sincerely,

Tom Law :

Tom

Customer:

with respect to being a registered owner, he is the only person listed on the registration papers for the vehicle so I assume that means that he is the only registered owner.

Customer:

Thanks for your response.

Tom B. and other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One other thought - we have joint assets since we are not divorced yet. We have a house in Alberta and we are still on title as joint tenants so this is a joint asset. If he were sued I am concerned that I could lose my half of this asset since it is still in both of our names.

 

If he were sued, would it be likely that I could lose my part of the house/property asset value if the victim was awarded damages that exceeded the value of my husbands assets?

No.

The joint assets are so on two levels. If in joint names then you share and even if not, a marriage creates an interest in family property. So, you have rights in both ways.

Joint tenancy is a strange concept for some. You do not own 50% but rather, you both own 100%. This means if someone dies, the other person on title takes all regardless of what any Will might say. You should keep that in mind.

A creditor who has sued him can get to his interest in property but cannot collect on your interest. It is a complicated process for the judgment creditor but if they got one, they can place on title a notice that there is a claim against HIS interest.

The question is what is his interest? Depending on the facts, you may be entitled to more than 50% which is the initial legal assumption. So, the creditor is stuck until law determines what his share truly is. Your downside could be a notice on title that there is a creditor which could effect property values.

With property in Alberta, I strongly suggest you consider filing for divorce in Alberta rather than letting him file for divorce in BC.

I am a bit concerned that you seem to have a lawyer who does not know the answers to your questions. You may want to consider a second or third or even fourth opinion. Here is a link to the Lawyer Referral Service. They will give you names of lawyers who have agreed to consult initially at no fee. You may consult with one or all.

http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/public/lawyer_referral.aspx/

If he has already filed in BC then you may be stuck fighting about things in BC but if you file in Alberta then the issues will be decided on your soil. Also, division or property and debts are Provincial matters so each province has different laws and procedures. While BC and Alberta laws are very similar, depending on facts in your case, it could be more advantageous for you to be in one jurisdiction over another. Again, your lawyer has to consider those differences and what is best on your facts.

Thank you for your support on your first question. This is a different one. If you find the issues I have raised of interest to you, I am prepared to work with you further on them. Please consider another good rating :)

My best,

Tom





Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your response about the assets and your advice about filing for divorce. I live in Calgary and have retained a family law lawyer here in Calgary, which is why I was seeking advice about the vehicle insurance from someone in BC since my lawyer was not sure about the insurance issue for BC.

 

I have filed the statement of claim for the division of the matrimonial assets in Alberta since our assets are here. Regarding filing for divorce I have told my husband that will be his responsibility. I am Catholic and made a commitment to him for life when I married him 33 years ago. I do not believe in divorce so I will not be the plaintiff in the divorce action. It's been rather difficult as I found out after he left that he had cheated on me for a year before he announced his new life to me. I was about to move to Vancouver to join him and he denied, and continues to deny, that he is in a relationship.

 

I appreciate the advice that you have provided - thank you.

 

XXXXX XXXXX

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