Non-family assets are the items that will be split between spouses. Those may be things like a shared family home in both people’s names or savings accounts that are shared. pensions, RRSPs, business ventures and other items could also be identified as family assets.
There are some items that will not be considered family assets. Because they aren’t, the assets are very unlikely to be split between the people divorcing and will go to the original owner. Things that may fall into this category include assets you owned before you got married, assets you gained after separating from your spouse, personal injury settlements and court awards, gifts you received from your spouse, business assets, and inheritances.
To determine if an asset is a family asset or not, you need to decide if it was ordinarily used or intended to be used for the family. In court, it’s up to you to prove that an asset isn’t a family asset; if you don’t take the time to defend your right to those assets, then you will likely have to split them with your ex-spouse. This is because Canadian laws recognize all assets as shared family assets unless proven otherwise.
Things that were once considered solo assets could become family assets over time, which is something to consider. For example, if you receive an inheritance and keep it in a private account, it stays in your possession. However, if you share the account and use it for shared purposes, then it could be considered a family asset and result in you having to share it in a divorce.
Source: Law Courts Education Society of BC, “Property and Asset Division,” accessed May. 19, 2015
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