When a relationship between a couple comes to an end there may be more to it than the emotional aspect. If a couple is married or lived as common-law spouses, steps will have to be taken to address how assets and debts will be divided. In British Columbia this involves the application of the Family Law Act. The act will be applicable when a couple is in the process of divorcing or ending a relationship characterized as “marriage like” that lasted a minimum of two years.
While every situation of course has its own set of unique circumstances, under the Family Law Act there are certain things that the parties to a relationship that has ended can expect. Specifically, any property that was accrued during the course of the relationship will usually be shared equally. The same can be said to the dept. Property brought by each party to the relationship is handled differently however. There is not an expectation that it will be shared.
Couples should know that they have the option to divide property and debt differently if they so chose. To accomplish this they need to create an agreement regarding how the property will be shared.
As the case with many things in the field of law, there is a certain time during which an application to divide property must be filed. For couples who are divorcing, it is within two years of the order for divorce. For common-law spouses the time period is also two years, but from the date of separation.
When a relationship ends, the way in which property and debt is divided is important to the future of each spouse. Accordingly, it is in the best interest of all who find themselves in this situation to work with a lawyer.