Separation and divorce is a serious matter, made ever the more complex and challenging for those with a high net worth, significant family income, and marital assets subject to division.
Thinking about what the divorce will mean for you financially is often one of the most vexing issues in any divorce or separation.
You may fear losing your home or parting with half of all your work output and savings or wonder about what will happen with accrued debt. This is what we are here to help you get through.
Our goal is to get you the maximum value from the assets of the marriage. In practice this which will be just one of the issues in a multi-faceted divorce or separation which can involve high-value business in addition to family, or other personal financial interests, the matrimonial home, spousal support, and issues surrounding any children. Our team can handle the entire case as one matter in order to settle all issues including property and asset division.
Equalization and division of marital assets is one issue in every separation. Feelings and emotions from the relationship sometimes can make it difficult to objectively assess what is in your own best interest.
We will try as much as possible to reduce the highly adversarial litigation process to help you to simply move forward after separation. And you can also count on us to stand firm on your behalf when needed. We will not back down!
You need sage advice from expert legal advisors to have the best chance at reaching the financial outcome that will serve your best interests.
Saskatoon Property and Asset Division Lawyers
The task for your Saskatoon asset division lawyer is to determine all the assets and their respective values. Then to determine what was the increase in their value throughout the term of the marriage. That’s all it is.
So the first work your Saskatoon property division lawyer will do will be to sit down with you and determine what assets there are. In some cases your lawyer will need to depose others to obtain the necessary records, which can also involve the use of accountants and other paid experts.
Relevant records have to be obtained by your Saskatoon property and asset division lawyer. We will want to see bank accounts, household holdings, recreational properties, businesses, investments, pensions, and any other property acquired during the relationship may all be in issue as well as of course the Family home itself.
The matrimonial home, vacation or recreational properties, and a number of other assets can all present complicated issues in divorce and separation cases. Pensions, stock options, or investment portfolios all may be subject to division.
We help both married couples and common-law separation couples divide their assets and bring a resolution to their conflicts over all family law related matters which arise when relationships’ end.
The law prescribes (under the Family Property Act) the rules which have application to issues of property division upon divorce which often include the home, the cars, any business or other family income, investments or sometimes stock options, and pensions, and a division of debts.
Saskatoon Property and Asset Division Lawyers – Negotiated Settlement vs. Court Trial
In Saskatchewan, spouses can make an agreement to divide their property in whatever way they think is best. If the agreement is made in the manner specified in the Family Property Act, a court will not change the way the property is divided, unless the agreement was grossly unfair and one sided at the time it was made.
If the agreement is not made in the manner specified in the Act, the court can change the way the property is divided. However, the court would consider the agreement when dividing the property.
At the basic level, the law provides that all the property that you and your spouse may have acquired during your relationship will be divided equally.
This includes your matrimonial home where you ordinarily lived, land or other properties or real estate bought during your relationship, bank accounts, pensions from employment, recreational property, vehicles, any other business interests, stock portfolios, life insurance, term deposits, etc.
Any property which you may have owned before your marriage will be considered excluded property. What this will mean is that this class of assets is not included in your net family property. Some of the deciding factors a court will look at in choosing what to include or not involve:
- how long the separating couple lived together and how long they have lived apart
- any contribution one spouse made to the career of the other spouse
- the effect that domestic responsibilities have had on the earning capacity of each spouse
- when the property was acquired
- any contributions made by someone else to help buy the property
- tax liabilities if the property has to be sold
- the amount of child support payments
- the value of any family property outside of Saskatchewan
- debts of the spouses
- any interest that another person has in the property
- any other relevant circumstances
“Exempt property” is excluded from property division. This 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, as well as any increase in value of the exempt property which only makes sense as it was exempt property to start with.
Where the legal argument comes into it is typically 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 “family property” was owned prior to the relationship. The value of assets keeps changing after separation and this can cause further evaluation issues.
If you or your spouse transferred what would have otherwise been considered excluded property into the name of the other spouse during the course of the marriage, then it will be considered as a part of the net family property and has to be divided.
Family property can be both debt and property which was acquired by the spouses either jointly or individually during the course of the marriage and after separation, right up to the date of the final divorce order. When settling a case or going before a judge, the law is provides the framework. Some of the factors for a judge should be:
- Whether the specific property in question was acquired whilst the spouses were living separate or apart
- How long were the spouses married?
- How much did each spouse contribute?
- What is the financial worth of each spouse?
- Do other agreements between the spouses exist?
- Are there Court orders against either or both spouses?
- Does either spouse have tax and debt liabilities?
- Whether one spouse has dissipated property to the detriment of the other spouse
Assets one of the spouses had prior to getting married remain with that spouse and are not subject to division, with some exceptions (such as the matrimonial home).
However the increase in value of the property, or investments, or businesses over the time of the marriage would be considered Family property and therefore subject to division.
Of course, the situation is quite different if there was a binding prenuptial agreement. One spouse might in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement specify that his or her interests in any given enterprise, investment, or business are exempt entirely from family property division.
Both parties are entitled equally to the family home, being the place you and your spouse resided during the course of your marriage, irrespective of contributions.
Even if only one of you or your spouse bore the expense of purchasing the house, the home’s value will be shared equally between both the spouses. During a divorce, both spouses have equal rights to remain in their Family home. If this is an issue you should call us right away.
In rare cases, where there is a risk to a spouse or any children should the other spouse remain in the home, the courts may be asked to award one spouse exclusive possession of the family home (a.k.a. the matrimonial home).
Saskatoon Property and Asset Division Lawyers
If you are on the verge of a divorce, have a property and asset division issue, or any other family law issue, one of our Saskatoon family law lawyer can help you deal with it.
Our Saskatoon property and asset division lawyers will guide you through the separation and divorce process with compassion, sound advice, and vigorous advocacy. Leave it to us. We are in your corner!
Our Saskatoon property and asset division lawyers proudly serve the greater Saskatoon, Saskatchewan area. Merchant Group has offices across Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Regina, and Moose Jaw. Our Saskatoon office also serves the following surrounding areas:
Kindersley, Melfort, Tisdale, Prince Albert, Humboldt, Nipawin, North Battleford, La Ronge, Lloydminster, Canora, Esterhazy, Martensville, Warman, Rosetown, Outlook, Watrous, Dalmeny, Osler, Langham, Rosthern, and Delisle.
Getting in Touch
If you have a property and asset division issue, a Saskatoon family law lawyer at Merchant Law Group LLP can help you deal with it.
Contact us today by telephone at 306-653-7777 for a free consultation.
Alternatively for a response by email just fill in the form and we will get back to you within one business day.
You can also visit us at our Saskatoon office located at: 224 4th Ave S, in downtown Saskatoon.