GRANT McKENZIE: Breaking up is hard to do

Remember when shacking up was seen as a carefree way to enjoy the benefits of marriage without all the legal hassle?

GRANT McKENZIE: Breaking up is hard to do

Remember when shacking up was seen as a carefree way to enjoy the benefits of marriage without all the legal hassle? “If we get sick of each other, we can just walk away,” was the mantra.

Of course, that casual attitude only applied so long as kids didn’t come along, or massive debt, or shared property. If your partner won the lottery and ran away with a younger model, well, at least you didn’t have to file for divorce. And if you were a same-sex couple, it wasn’t until recently that marriage was even a choice.

However, that’s all changing with a modernization of B.C.’s family law known as the Family Law Act.

Like most laws, there is a lot going on under the hood, but basically if you have been living together for two years, you are considered to be spouses and will be treated the same as married couples. This means that any debt or profit you accumulate during the time of the relationship (new student loans, for example) is shared equally if you break up.

Any debts brought into the relationship will remain with the individual, but any increases in debt become shared. The same with profit. If one half of a common-law couple owns a house, for example, that house remains with the individual. If, however, the property increases in value while the couple is living together, the profit becomes shared.

Now, if you’ve ever had a bad breakup that’s ended up in court, you already know that breaking up can be hard to do. This new law, that came into effect on March 18, attempts to lay it out in simpler terms. If you don’t like the idea of a 50/50 split, you can still create your own legal document through a lawyer, which is best handled while you still like each other.

Shacking up can still be a fun, commitment-light approach to starting a life together, but even if you don’t put a ring on it, after two years probation, you’re officially hooked. M

Song stuck in my head

One doesn’t often think of Sweden — home of Abba — as the place to find head-bashing garage punk that makes you want to drop the top on the Jeep and crank up the volume to 11. That all changed with the introduction of The Hives, and now punk girl four-piece Tiger Bell has picked up the mantel with its debut EP Slaughter’s Daughter. The title cut, “Slaughter’s Daughter”, is everything you want in a danceable, dashboard-slapping driving song. Screechy electric guitars, pounding, frenetic drums and lyrics with middle-finger-raised attitude are enough to make you remember what a sunny day and a few moments of downtime are all about. Loosen your tie and give these kick-ass gals a spin.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Nanaimo’s Todd Cameron won the $1,000 Fan Favourite prize in Vancouver radio station CFOX 99.3 FM’s one-minute movie contest for his version of ‘The Big Lebowski.’ (Photo courtesy Todd Cameron)
Nanaimo man’s 60-second stop-motion ‘Big Lebowski’ remake wins fans’ choice award

Todd Cameron takes home $1,000 prize in Vancouver radio station contest

Kathryn Calder, City of Victoria’s artist in residence, is facilitating a performance and songwriting workshop for youth. (YouTube)
Online music workshops available for Greater Victoria young artists

Artist in Residence Kathryn Calder to host songwriting, performance series

Most Read