The accumulated assets of a marriage can sometimes be substantial. In fact, some people may not be aware exactly how extensive their holdings are until it comes time to split them up during a divorce. For those with questions about property division in British Columbia, here some useful facts on the subject.
According to the law, all family property must be divided equally between two spouses, except where a marriage agreement states otherwise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each party gets half of everything physically, but rather that the value is divided evenly.
Family property includes essentially everything accumulated by either or both parties during the marriage up until the date of separation. Some examples include real estate, cars, RRSPs, pensions and bank accounts.
Family debts will also be split evenly during a divorce. No matter who accumulated the debts, both parties are responsible for managing them. Credit cards, loans and mortgages are common family debts.
Some assets are not considered family property. Known as excluded property, these are typically items that were owned by an individual prior to getting married, or which were gifted to a single person. Items purchased with the proceeds of excluded property are also excluded from division. However, the appreciated value of excluded property (typically on big ticket items like homes) is viewed as family property.
As may be seen from this very brief overview, property division can be a complex endeavour. To be certain of a fair division, it is important to be certain what is and what is not family property. Working with a skilled lawyer who has an excellent working knowledge of family law in British Columbia can help a person come away from their marriage with a truly fair share of the marital assets.