Dividing marital property can be stressful. Your future well-being is on the line. You stand to lose property that you may have become quite attached to, like the family home, or which you might have sweated and bled for, like your business. Dividing some property, like your retirement account, may even devalue it if done incorrectly.
There are many myths about the division of assets. For example, many people believe that if a piece of property is “in the spouse’s name” that they aren’t entitled to it. In reality, what you’re entitled to has nothing to do with whose name it is in. It may nevertheless take some creative solutions and strategic thinking to get all the property divided up fairly.
How are marital assets divided in Alberta?
Both spouses are legally entitled to 50% of the marital property. Marital property is defined as any property that was accumulated after the date of marriage. Non-marital property is any property that you owned prior to the marriage, so long as it wasn’t co-mingled with marital property in some way.
You should also keep in mind that increases in value do matter. For example if you came into the marriage with a retirement account then the original balance is usually non-marital property, but any increase in value is marital property.
It’s easy to see how complex these issues can become. The status of certain property as marital or nonmarital can also create points of contention during the negotiation process.
It will be up to your lawyer to help you protect as many of your assets as possible, if at all possible. Having a clear idea of which assets matter most to you can be helpful, as it can aide in the negotiation process.
Can my spouse touch my inheritance?
Usually an inheritance is considered non-marital property, with certain exceptions. If you use the inheritance to purchase or improve marital property (like a marital property) then you’ve co-mingled the asset and it can’t be protected. In that example, the house doesn’t automatically belong to you.
The increased value provision also applies to an inheritance. If you invest your inheritance your spouse can’t touch the principle, but they can get a share of the increased value.
What happens if my spouse tries to hide assets?
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets let your lawyer know. There are few tricks your family law lawyer hasn’t seen, and forensic accounting can usually uncover most attempts.
If your spouse is caught trying to hide assets the courts will usually sanction the offender quite severely. For example, the judge might take all the assets the spouse tried to hide and give them to the spouse who remained committed to playing fair.
Why Merchant Law?
When you partner with Merchant Law you partner with some of Alberta’s most experienced divorce lawyers. We’re savvy negotiators and top notch litigators who know how to get you a fair property division settlement.
Get the help you need to keep as much of your property as possible. Call \ today.