Division of Family Property During Divorce

Determining assets and splitting them equally during divorce often causes stress and conflict. Work with a Calgary divorce lawyer who knows your rights and will help you protect your assets.

Division of Family Property During Divorce

Determining assets and splitting them equally during divorce often causes stress and conflict. Work with a Calgary divorce lawyer who knows your rights and will help you protect your assets.

The Family Property Act sets out specific guidelines with regard to the division of property of married and unmarried partners whose relationship has broken down and who cannot agree on the division of their assets. Family Property includes items such as:

  • The matrimonial home
  • Household goods
  • RRSPs and employment pensions
  • Business interests
  • Investments, stocks, bonds
  • Vehicles
  • Property used for mutual benefit of both partners
  • Property purchased during the marriage or relationship
  • Property brought into the relationship

Family Property does not include:

  • Property acquired by one spouse or partner before the marriage
  • Gifts
  • Inheritance
  • Awards or settlements that are designated for one spouse or partner, such as money paid for pain and suffering in an accident.

There are many intricacies and exceptions regarding family property that you will need to know when you’re dividing your assets. Having a good divorce lawyer is incredibly helpful when trying to determine the division of assets.

What if I am Not a Listed Owner of Our Home?

Under the Family Property Act, spouses/partners are entitled to divide (either equally or equitably depending on the type of property and the circumstances of the parties) all of the assets of their spouse, whether the assets are held jointly by the parties, solely by the spouse or even jointly by the spouse and third parties (as to the spouses's share of such jointly held assets). That means that you do not need to be listed as an owner of your home to be entitled to a portion if it’s value.

Am I Responsible for my Spouse's Debt?

In most cases, the debt accumulated during your marriage will be divided equally. However, in certain circumstances where you can show that debt was accumulated outside of the normal course during your marriage, the courts can award the spouse an unequal division of the balance of matrimonial debt. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a divorce lawyer if you believe that your assets and debts should not be divided evenly.

What if I am Unaware of my Spouse's Assets?

When you start your division of property, one of the first steps for both parties is to disclose incomes, assets and debts. If this information is not disclosed voluntarily, you can apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench with a Notice to Disclose Application which requires the Respondent to provide a list of records in less than 30 days.

The Alberta Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) was renamed the Family Property Act as of January 1st, 2020. One of the most notable changes to the Family Property Act is that the Act now deals with property division for unmarried couples, whereas the Alberta Matrimonial Property Act did not. 

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