Family LawMatrimonial and Family Property Division

Asset and Debt Division Post-Separation

Family Law - Matrimonial and Family Property Division

Matrimonial and Family Property Division

Splitting up the assets and debts after separation can be one a most confusing things for separating spouses. 

The 50-50 Rule Explained

In both British Columbia and Alberta, the law generally states that assets and debts acquired during a marriage or common-law relationship are deemed to be divided 50-50 between both parties. This includes, but is not limited to houses and condos, businesses, bank accounts, investments, and pensions. There are however some exceptions to this rule.

Inheritances, Gifts, and Pre-Relationship Assets

Assets that were inherited, gifts from third parties, and money received by one spouse in a legal action during the relationship may be exempt from the 50-50 rule. Also, any assets or debts that a spouse had before the parties started living together may be exempt from the 50-50 rule. However, any increase in value of exempt assets is potentially divisible between the parties. Also, property that was exempt and then put into joint names may become divisible between the parties.

Complexities in Asset Valuation

Moreover, sometimes just assessing the value of assets and debts can be complicated. Determining the value of a business may require the assistance of a professional business valuator. Houses, paintings and jewelry may need to be appraised. A pension may need to be assessed by an actuary. Therefore, we sometimes work with professionals in these areas to assist in determining the true value of family property.

Special Considerations for High Net-Worth Separations

In separations involving high net-worth individuals with significant assets, the complexities often demand a multi-faceted strategy. That's why our approach is built on teamwork – assembling a dedicated group of lawyers who work collaboratively to assist with various aspects of your case. From identifying income and assets to collaborating with expert valuators and forensic accountants, our team provides comprehensive legal support to ensure every aspect of your financial situation is accurately represented.

Common-Law Relationships and Property Division

In both British Columbia and Alberta, family property accumulated during a common-law relationship is also deemed to be divided on a 50-50 basis. However, this area of law is intricate and subject to judicial discretion. Legal advice is highly recommended in these cases.

Unequal Division of Family Property

Generally, family property is split 50-50 between spouses, regardless of who contributed what. However, there are exceptions where an unequal division might be considered. These exceptions often come into play when a 50-50 split would result in significant unfairness. For example, this could happen if one spouse would face financial hardship from an equal division, if one spouse significantly contributed to the other's career or earning potential, or if there's a marked economic imbalance between the spouses either during the relationship or after its end. Though rare, the court aims for a just and equitable outcome, taking into account the unique circumstances of each case. Due to the complexity of this area of law, seeking legal advice is strongly recommended.

Additional Resources

Our Experience in Family Property Division

At Crossroads Law, we've successfully handled hundreds of cases involving family property division. We know how to accurately assess your entitlement to property and assets and we can help you to discover any undisclosed assets or debts that your partner may be concealing.

For a FREE initial consultation on property division, please reach out to us.

Contact Us to Learn More

Prenuptial and cohabitation agreements significantly influence asset and debt division upon separation in BC and Alberta. Their enforceability hinges on fairness, full disclosure, and independent legal advice. Regular legal reviews, especially after major life changes, are crucial for upholding these agreements.

In BC and Alberta, spouses must fully disclose assets during divorce. Failure to do so can result in legal fees, unequal asset division, and even contempt of court.

Gifts and inheritances are typically exempt in BC and Alberta divorces but can become divisible if commingled with marital assets. Keeping clear records and understanding the impact of asset value increases is essential. Legal counsel is advised for complex cases.

If you contest the proposed asset division during divorce, consider negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or court litigation. Each step may involve legal fees and time, so weigh the options with a family lawyer for a resolution that aligns with BC or Alberta laws.

Matrimonial and Family Property Division

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