How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Posted by heritagelawoffices on Dec 15, 2017 in Blog, Divorce Law, Family Law

When a couple decides to file for divorce, one of the biggest things that needs to be dealt with is the division of assets – both individual and joint. Read on to learn more about how assets are divided in a divorce in Alberta.

The Matrimonial Property Act

While divorce in Canada is a federal responsibility, the laws governing how assets are divided up between the partners differs depending on the province. In Alberta, the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) allows couples to divide their property in any manner they like, so long as they have both had their legal rights read to them by separate lawyers before signing a written agreement.
Recently, it’s also been added that there must be full financial disclosure from both parties prior to any agreement being signed. This is where a lawyer will provide you great benefit, as they can help ensure you’re receiving sufficient information to make an informed decision. It’s important that you know what property you have, how much it’s worth, and what you may be entitled to before signing anything.

If the couple is unable to come to a resolution themselves, the MPA also provides guidance as to how a Court will divide property.

Division of “Property”

When talking about the division of assets, we’re talking about property. Many people mistake the term property to just mean real estate, when in fact the term refers to anything that is owned individually by either of the parties, or together. Examples of some of the property you’ll need to divy up in a divorce include:

  • Real estate (current home, recreational properties, time shares)
  • Financial assets (bank accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance)
  • RRSP’s
  • Pensions
  • Vehicles
  • Jewelry
  • Furniture
  • Pets

Types of Assets

There are three categories of assets.

  1. Joint Assets – assets are ones that you and your spouse own together.
  2. Your Assets – assets that you owned before you were married and continued to remain the sole owner throughout the marriage.
  3. Your Spouse’s Assets – assets that your spouse owned before the marriage, and continued to remain the sole owner throughout the marriage.

Consult A Lawyer

We understand divorce can be a difficult and stressful experience. Having an expert family lawyer on your side will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. The earlier you include a lawyer in your divorce proceedings, the better they will be able to help, so book your appointment with Heritage Law today.