Property Division in Edmonton: The Basics of Matrimonial Property
For many people, the end of a marriage or adult interdependent relationship involves a disentanglement of property the spouses have shared over the course of their partnership. This may be a very emotional process. While the ideal situation may be for both parties to collaborate in good faith on their property division, this may not always be the reality as a relationship ends.
Our Edmonton family lawyers at Verhaeghe Law approach each client with individual care, understanding that no two cases are the same. When you book your initial consultation with our team, we will listen to your story and work hard to address your questions and concerns. Contact us today to learn how we might be able to help.
What Is Matrimonial Property?
Matrimonial property refers to assets and liabilities you may have shared with your spouse over the course of your marriage or adult interdependent relationship. In the case of the matrimonial home, there may be special provisions. The house in which the parties lived together may be subject to property division even if only one of the parties was on title.
Generally, matrimonial property subject to division may include real estate properties, bank accounts, investments, businesses and business assets, cars, household goods, and more. If you would like to discuss a particular item of property and whether it may be subject to division in a separation or divorce, speak with our Edmonton family lawyers today.
What Is Not Subject to Division?
If the two separating parties agree on how they will divide their property, they may do so according to their wishes. However, if the parties cannot agree, there are provisions to guide the process under Alberta's Family Property Act.
With some exceptions, assets that a spouse had before entering into the marriage or adult interdependent relationship may not be subject to division. However, the amount of value an asset has accrued over the course of the marriage may be considered matrimonial property, and therefore subject to division.
Assets that may not be considered matrimonial property can include an inheritance directed to only one of the spouses, individual gifts, and tort settlements from personal injury or other civil claims.
If you have a prenuptial agreement or other kind of formal agreement that provides for particular protections regarding your assets, this may dictate how you and your former spouse divide your property. Likewise, drafting a separation agreement might help clarify each partner's priorities regarding property, should their relationship end.
Our team of Edmonton family lawyers understands the highly personal and individual nature of each relationship. We strive to approach each client with tailored dedication, listening to your unique needs and offering insights aimed at helping you navigate your separation with as much ease as possible. Contact us today to learn more.
Considerations During a Dispute Regarding Property Division in Edmonton
While most property division disputes are settled out of court, the intervention of a judge may be available should the separating parties be unable to come to an agreement. The parties may go through an equalization process, aimed at recognizing the financial losses one party may have incurred to benefit the other while they were together. The party with a higher net family property value at the end of the relationship may be required to remit equalization payments to the party with a lower net family property value.
When assessing a matter of property division, a judge may consider the following factors:
- The net family property value of each spouse
- How long the parties were married or an in an adult interdependent relationship
- Whether there are children involved
- Who owns what property
- When any relevant property was acquired
- Whether one spouse engaged in conduct that dissipated assets, causing disadvantage to the other spouse (e.g. gambling)
- The value that each spouse brought into the relationship, in terms of contributions
- Whether there are business interests involved
- Whether there are existing agreements between the spouses, such as a prenuptial agreement, an adult interdependent relationship agreement, a separation agreement, or more
- Whether either spouse has debt and/or tax liabilities
- Whether there are Court orders against either of the spouses
- And more
Many factors go into the decision-making at the root of property division in Edmonton. As with any dispute, the best way to resolve an issue may be to collaborate and come to an amicable agreement. However, because of the emotional, vulnerable nature of an intimate partner relationship, navigating property division during a separation may not always be graceful.
Our team at Verhaeghe Law recognizes that each relationship is different. From mediation and collaborative divorce to preparation for court, our Edmonton family lawyers are here to discuss the options that may be available in your unique case.
Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today For a Consultation
Disentangling property can be a stressful process in the aftermath of a separation or divorce. Under ideal circumstances, the separating couple comes to an agreement about how their matrimonial property should be divided. Unfortunately, the reality is often more complicated, and contentions may arise.
At Verhaeghe Law, our Edmonton family lawyers understand the emotional nature of property division. We strive to approach each case with compassion and diligence, working together with our clients to clarify your particular needs. Contact us today to book your initial consultation and learn what a difference we might be able to make for you.
** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of family law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta family lawyer