Same-sex divorce and property division in British Columbia

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in Property Division on November 20, 2017.

Marriage is different in the 21st century and so is divorce. With same-sex marriage legal in Canada, same-sex spouses who are divorcing have similar issues to address. One of those concerns is property division. Laws affecting most marriage and family issues are put in place by individual provinces. In British Columbia same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples do when it comes to family law.

Most issues are determined by the legal status of the couple — were the partners legally married or in a common-law partnership? Upon divorce, property isn’t just divided in half. The simplest way of making that determination is when spouses agree upon who will get what.

If there is no marriage or partnership contract, property will be divided according to the family law rules of the province in which the couple resides. This rule applies to both same-sex and heterosexual married couples. There may some exceptions such as property that was gifted to one partner through an inheritance or property owned prior to the marriage.

If the issue does go to court, the value of all jointly owned property will be assessed. It is that property minus everything owned by each individual on the marriage date that is actually divided (with a few exceptions). Property division laws can be incredibly complicated and hard for some to understand. A British Columbia lawyer’s advice can be invaluable to a client trying the make property division determinations regardless of whether he or she is in a same-sex or a heterosexual union.

Source:, “Same-sex marriage rights across Canada“, Accessed on Nov. 10, 2017

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