Property/equalization of Net Family Property

If you are separating after a common law relationship, your rights and obligations pertaining to property will be significantly different than if you were married.  The presumption for common law couples is that property is divided in accordance with ownership.  However, if division in accordance with legal ownership will result in one spouse being unjustly enriched at the expense of the other, the law may impose a different result.  This is a complex and fact specific area of law which requires a thorough understanding of the law and the facts to maximize the chances of an appropriate outcome.

For married couples, the Family Law Act specifies that upon separation each spouse is entitled to have Net Family Property equalized.  In brief, marriage is deemed to be an economic partnership and the fruits of that partnership are divided equally on separation.  With certain important exceptions, each spouse is entitled to a credit for their net worth on date of marriage.  The difference between a spouse’s net worth on date of marriage and date of separation is that spouse’s Net Family Property.  The spouse with the greater Net Family Property owes the other spouse one half the difference.

There are very specific provisions in the Family Law Act dealing with the matrimonial home, private pensions, and exclusions such as gifts or inheritances received during the marriage.  Once proper financial disclosure has been exchanged, we have the knowledge and experience to accurately advise you of your rights and obligations so you do not end up paying too much or receiving too little.