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Division of Property and the Courts’ Involvement

During the separation and divorce process, at some point you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are going to have divide property acquired during the marriage, as well as the matrimonial home. There are specific sections contained within the Ontario Family Law Act that explain how property is to be divided. The courts tend to avoid getting involved in making decisions regarding the division of property unless it is absolutely necessary. Rather, the courts strongly encourage the divorcing couple to attempt to work towards an amicable division of property on their own, with assistance from their Ottawa divorce lawyers.

In the event that property disputes cannot be resolved by the parties and/or their lawyers, at this point, the court will hear arguments on behalf of both parties and the judge will make a ruling as to how the property will be divided. Any decisions made by the court are final and must be complied with, even if you do not agree with the judge’s ruling. It is for this reason that divorcing couples should exhaust all efforts to try to reach a property division on their own before turning to litigation.

How Property Is Divided

Basically, all property acquired from the time you are married until the date of the actual separation, not counting the home, has to be divided equally between the divorcing couple. In addition, any jointly acquired debts are taken into consideration. The amount of debt is subtracted from the total value of the property. This remaining amount is the net property value which both parties are entitled to share equally. If one party has a greater value of property than the other, he or she must give sufficient value to the other so as to “equalize” their property.

In some cases, one party might offer to purchase the other party’s interest in particular pieces of property, like an art collection, rather than dividing it or selling it to a third party. This is a perfectly acceptable solution, as long as both parties are in agreement and the funds being used to purchase the interest are not considered part of the existing marital assets.

In regards to the matrimonial home, this is treated differently, depending on several factors, such as whether there are children involved in the divorce- should they remain in the home rather than have it sold? – and whether one party can but out the other’s interest. There are several possible amicable solutions for ensuring both parties receive their fair value of the property.

Division of Property Proposals

Typically, the first step in working towards a division of property settlement will begin with one or both parties making a proposal through their respective lawyers. Keep in mind, proposals are the initial steps to dividing the property and letting you know what the other party is willing to agree to. You must determine the value of your matrimonial assets. Proposals help you and your lawyer determine what is in your best interests. You do have the option to agree to the initial proposal, stipulate which aspects of the other party’s initial proposal you in agreement with and which ones you are not, or counter their proposal with your own proposal

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind the above information is provided for reference purposes only and should not be considered actual legal advice. For actual legal advice and assistance with division of property proposals and settlement offers, contact the family law lawyers at Davies Law Firm today at 613-688-0462 to arrange a consultation appointment.

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