When a marriage or marriage-like relationship ends, one life suddenly becomes two. As the couple splits apart, so too must all their belongings. During the process of property division, the combined assets and liabilities of a couple are spread between the former partners before they go off to live separately. Here are some answers to the questions men and women may have about dividing assets in British Columbia.
The Family Law Act of March 2013, brought many changes to the rules for property division in BC. As things stand now, former partners will typically be granted an equal share of the value of their combined assets and debts. Property brought into the marriage or long-term relationship remains in the possession of the original owner. Be aware that time restrictions are enforced: an application for property division must be made within two years of the divorce order, or within two years of the date of separation for unmarried couples.
Former couples do have the option to work out their own arrangement. If a mutually agreed upon decision is reached, the two parties can opt out of the province's property division rules. This applies to both married couples, and unmarried couples who have lived together for two years or more in a marriage-like relationship.
Whether one chooses to make an out-of-court agreement, or to take the matter to a judge, careful handling of property division is necessary in order to avoid a financially disadvantageous beginning to a new life. Consultation with a family law professional may be the best place to start. An experienced British Columbia lawyer can help an individual to achieve a satisfactory settlement or agreement.
Source: gov.bc.ca, "Dealing with Property and Debt", Accessed on April 18, 2017