In our last post, we talked about the need to have supporting proof for the precise date when a couple decides to separate. This is particularly important for those who separate but continue to live together since the official date is a key piece of information for dividing family property and debts.
In British Columbia, the division of such debt is treated the same way for both married couples and for those who have lived in common law relationships for at least two years. The law stipulates that family debt for such couples is to be shared equally.
It doesn’t matter what kind of debt or whose name the debt is in. So long as the debt was taken on while the couple was living together, they are to be shared equally. These debts could include a mortgage, credit card balances, bank or car loans, income tax owing or even private loans extended by the couples’ family members. It also includes debts that the couple takes on after separating, so long as these are used in the care of family property.
The only exception to the 50/50 rule is when a couple signs a legal separation agreement in which both parties agree to divide debts unequally. The agreement doesn’t have to be made before separating – it can even be signed after one party has already moved out. But while the courts generally respect such family agreements, it still has the authority to set aside significantly unfair provisions within an agreement.
To ensure that the rights of separating couples are well-protected, the lawyers at Peterson Stark Scott are equipped to provide reliable legal advice and help in drafting a separation agreement.