Property division: What happens to the house after a split?

When living under one roof becomes more than couples can bear, they may decide it's time to end their relationships. British Columbia residents who are married or living in common law unions have many things with which they need to come to terms. One of the decisions that has to be made upon the dissolution of a marriage or common law relationship, is property division. 

Provinces and territories have slightly different laws governing the division of property, but one thing is the same in all areas -- marriage is considered an equal partnership. Property division rules in British Columbia apply to couples who live together in a marriage-like relationship for two or more years. Just like married couples in the province, they will likely share any property accruing during the relationship, but not property brought into the relationship. Couples can opt out of that rule by having a cohabitation agreement in place. 

A cohabitation agreement between common law partners spells out who gets what and who is responsible for what debts should the union end. The should be drafted properly by a lawyer. Each person has the same right to the property whether they stay in the home or leave. There are many things to consider like whether there is a mortgage on the home, deciding to put the house on the market and what should happen if one person wants to sell and the other doesn't.

A British Columbia lawyer may be able to help a client to answer these questions. Property division can be confusing and having some insight into the laws that govern it may be helpful in deciding what to do. A lawyer may be able to advise a client on what he or she can do legally when it comes to a family home after a relationship ends.

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