Can property you buy after the separation be martial property?
Property division can be extremely complex, and there are many misconceptions about what is or is not marital property and therefore subject to the divorce settlement. While many people are aware that the property that either spouse bought during the course of the marriage may be considered marital property, they may not be aware that property bought after the separation date may also be subject to British Columbia’s property division guidelines.
While it may seem counterintuitive that property you buy you and your ex are already separated can be marital property, it is very possible. The determining factor is what funds you use to make the purchase. If the funding for the purchase comes from marital property, such as a joint bank account or monies from selling marital property, the item purchased can be considered part of the divorce settlement.
The best way to ensure that property you purchase during the separation period is not included in your divorce settlement is to make it very clear that no marital funds or assets were used. Money from a single bank account where only your income is deposited would be a good source. Funds that are excluded from marital property division, such as inheritances or gifts from a third party would also likely be safe.
If you are planning on making any large purchases during the separation period or have questions about property division, it’s important to get information from an experienced lawyer in British Columbia. Understanding how the courts are likely to assess your assets makes it easier to protect your financial interests.
Source: BC Laws, “Family Law Act Part 5 — Property Division,” accessed May 31, 2016
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