On behalf of Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators posted in Division of Property on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.
British Columbia residents may wish to know how property is divided when a couple divorces. The law has a specific method, but couples are free to come to a separate agreement if they wish.
Under B.C. law, there are two categories of property relevant to a couple when they decide to divorce. Family property is defined as any property that each of the spouses came to own, either on their own or as a couple, until the day that they separate. This can be anything from retirement accounts to a family home. Excluded from this definition is anything that falls under the category of excluded property. Three types of property fall under the excluded definition, and they are property owned by a spouse prior to marriage, property that was gifted to or inherited by one spouse, and certain types of legal damages, trust property and proceeds from insurance policies. When this excluded property increases its value during the marriage, however, that increase in value is usually deemed to be family property.
These rules apply to married couples and to those who have cohabited for over two years in a relationship resembling a marriage. Any property that is deemed to be family property and not excluded is divided equally between the former couple when they divorce. In some cases, however, an unequal property division is appropriate when an equal split would not be fair to one party.
Additionally, a couple can choose to negotiate a different division of property agreement if both parties so desire. A lawyer who has experience in family law may be able to counsel one party and decide what constitutes a fair division of the family property. The lawyer may then be able to draft an agreement to be signed by the former spouses.
Source: Justice BC, “What happens to family property when spouses separate?“, July 15, 2014
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