Deciding how property will be divided in a divorce proceeding can be extremely stressful. While British Columbia law allows for 50/50 division of property it is not always possible to just split everything straight down the middle. Some property isn’t very liquid, and other property, like retirement accounts, can be vastly devalued by simply removing money from them.
To get the best property division arrangement possible you need a lawyer who specializes in creative legal solutions.
What happens to family property when spouses separate in BC?
During a separation most of the property may remain right where it is, with both spouses having equal legal access to it, unless a separation agreement is in place.
Once you begin negotiating your divorce settlement it will be time to figure out what must happen with the property. In some cases a 50/50 division might be considered significantly unfair to one spouse or the other.
An example might be a spouse who married someone for a year and came into the marriage with nothing, with a spouse who had a million dollars in assets. It would be unfair to divide that property 50/50, even if all of it had somehow become marital property during the course of the year long marriage.
Is a spouse entitled to inheritance money in British Columbia?
In most cases, inheritance money is considered non-marital property. As long as you kept it separate then it should be untouchable.
The exception would be if you invested that money into a marital asset or converted it into marital property in some way. For example, if you invest your inheritance check into your jointly held retirement account than all of that money becomes marital property at that time. If you used your inheritance to renovate the marital home then you don’t suddenly own a greater share of the home’s increased value.
If you are concerned about an inheritance then you should absolutely bring these concerns up with your divorce lawyer.
How do you fairly divide assets during a divorce?
This is a complex question that requires an in-depth look at your total financial picture. It also requires an assessment of the planned spousal support arrangements, if any. For some, offering an “equalization payment” while keeping the bulk of physical assets will be fairer. For others, fair division really will mean liquidating every asset and splitting the difference down the middle. Still more creative solutions may be required in other cases.
Property division and debt division are a very clear cut case of why you should never try to handle a divorce without getting support from a qualified divorce lawyer. “Fair” can get complex fast.
Why Merchant Law?
We have renowned lawyers with decades of experience in family law. Our team is dedicated to helping you obtain the best possible terms for your divorce settlement. We’ll support you throughout the entire process, helping you make sound decisions while doing our best to move the process along as swiftly and as easily as possible.
To get started, call (604) 535-7777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit our office at 63337 198 St #101, Langley City, BC.