If you are on the verge of divorce, have a property and asset division issue, or any other family law issue, a Calgary family law lawyer at Merchant Law Group LLP can help you. Contact us today at 403-225-7777.
Property division will usually be just one of the issues in a multi-faceted separation which can involve one or more high-value businesses in addition to family, or other personal financial interests.
But it is also important that your lawyer works to reduce the highly adversarial litigation process by focusing on solutions that can help you to both save you money on legal expense as well as to just move forward with your life after the divorce or separation.
You may fear losing your home or parting with half of all your savings. There may be accrued debt to divide.
What property is subject to division?
The Alberta Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) sets out the types of assets subject to division when a marriage ends. Basically all the property that you and your spouse have acquired during your relationship will be divided equally and includes also debts.
So we are talking about things like:
- The matrimonial home where you ordinarily lived,
- land or other properties or real estate bought during your relationship,
- vacation or recreational properties,
- bank accounts,
- pensions from employment,
- stock options from employment,
- stock or investment portfolios,
- vehicles, boats,
- any other business interests,
- life insurance,
- term deposits,
are all subject to division.
Valuations can often cause the most difficulty. Sometimes actuaries become necessary.
Your Calgary asset division lawyer is tasked with determining all the assets and their values and what was the increase in value throughout the term of the marriage.
The aim of any good Calgary assets division lawyer should be to get for you the maximum value from the assets of the marriage by law.
Our Calgary asset division lawyers are experienced and will diligently advance your property division rights in order to secure for you the most optimal outcome financially.
What about common law couples in Calgary?
It can get more complex for common-law couples, as matrimonial property legislation regarding property division does not apply to un-married or common law couples in Alberta. In fact, complex case law governs how Alberta courts would deal with property division between common law partners after their separation. We can help you to understand your rights in this situation.
Divorce and separation present challenging issues in relation to division of the assets and debts. Our divorce lawyers are skilled and experienced in all areas of divorce and separation including mediation, trial, property division, child support, child custody, and spousal support. Call now to speak with one of our lawyers at 403-225-7777.
What is “exempt property”?
Exempt property is important to know about. Any property which you owned before your marriage will be considered excluded property with some exceptions (such as the matrimonial home).
This class of assets will not be included in your net family property. I.e. This property is exempt from matrimonial property division.
Exempt property may include any property owned by one of the parties before the marriage, or property received by way of gift or inheritance, tort claim damages for example from a car accident, or proceeds of a non-property insurance policy are all exempt.
The legal argument comes up around which assets and debts are specifically held by each spouse and when were the assets acquired (whether before or after the date of marriage) and whether the matrimonial property was owned prior to the relationship.
The value of assets keeps changing after separation and this can cause further evaluation issues. Until settlement or trial the values can keep changing.
If you or your spouse transferred what would have otherwise been considered a pre-marriage excluded property into the name of the other spouse during the marriage, then it will be considered as a part of the net family property and must be divided.
Our Calgary property and asset division lawyers team will help to guide you through the legal process and will be best placed to advise you as to what is legally considered family assets subject to division and the methods of division once they have the relevant facts of your case.
However, the increase in value of the property, or investments, or businesses over the time of the marriage would be considered matrimonial property and therefore subject to division.
Both parties are entitled equally to the matrimonial home irrespective of contributions. The matrimonial home is treated exceptionally under the law. During a divorce, both spouses have equal rights to remain in their matrimonial home. If this is an issue you should call us right away.
In extreme cases, where there is a risk to a spouse or any children should the other spouse remain in the home, the courts can be asked to award one spouse exclusive possession of the matrimonial home, even if the title to the property is in the name of the other spouse, together with what amount to eviction orders.
Do common law couples divide assets and debts in Alberta?
There are no laws governing the division of property for unmarried couples here in Alberta. That said, generally speaking jointly held assets are divided equally although the presumption is that property purchased during the relationship will belong to the person who can prove ownership. Call us to discuss the specific facts in your case to see how we may assist you.
Getting in Touch
Our offices are on the fourth floor of the Merchant Law Building previously known as the Deerfoot 17 building. It is easy to get to from the Deerfoot Trail or Barlow Trail. There is free parking available. We do recommend calling in advance to make an appointment as the lawyers can be out to court or in other meetings. So it is best to book ahead.
You can reach us seven days a week at 403-225-7777.
Or else if you prefer to fill in the form on this webpage we will get back to you by the next business day at the latest.
We also service the following nearby communities: Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere, Strathmore, and High River.