Division of property during a legal separation and divorce quickly becomes complex, especially in situations where there are hostilities, anger, hurt, and other emotions during the separation and divorce proceedings. Davies Law Firm is very experienced in assisting people to obtain a fair settlement and division of property upon separation. Ottawa divorce lawyers representing both parties work together to ensure any property settlements are just and fair for both people.
Division of Property for Married Couples
The Ontario Family Law Act details the specific laws in regards to division of property between married couples, including same-sex couples, who were legally married. There are two main parts to the division of property laws. The first part has to do with all property acquired during the marriage, but does not include the matrimonial home. The laws regarding the matrimonial home are contained in the second part.
The division of marital property, excluding the matrimonial home, uses a specific formula to determine the net value. Basically, the value of all property acquired from the date of marriage until the date of separation is added up. Next, all debts equally shared between the parties are summed and subtracted from the total property value to determine the net property value. However, there are certain exclusions and exceptions in regards to certain debts and types of property that are not included in this process, such as personal clothing and property owned individually before the marriage. Further, if there is a prenuptial agreement in effect, any property listed in the agreement is excluded from this process.
The division of the matrimonial home depends on whether the divorcing couple has any children together. Some agreements made by both parties allow one parent to remain in the matrimonial home until more suitable accommodations are found and then sell the home and equally split any proceeds from the sale. During this time, both parties are responsible for all maintenance, homeowners’ association fees, property taxes, and other such expenses and normally split these costs, since they owe the debts equally. In cases where there are no minor children involved in the divorce proceedings, there are a few different options the parties can consider. One option is to sell the home immediately and split the proceeds. Another option is for one person to retain the home and buy out the other person’s interest in the property.
Divorce lawyers in Ottawa representing both parties often attempt to go through a mediation process where the mediator acts as intermediary and lawyers present what each party is proposing for a division of property. It is better to attempt to come to an amicable agreement rather than leave it in the hands of the court. In the event there are few items neither party can agree upon, then the court will make a ruling.
Division of Property for Common Law Couples
Division of property laws is different for unmarried and common law couples. The legal system recognizes situations where the couple has been together for a length of time and one or both parties may have property rights. The process to divide property is a detailed process and involves filing constructive and resulting trust claims not under statute but based on precedent and the concept of unjust enrichment. If you were cohabitating and the relationship ends, it is best to consult with an Ottawa family lawyer to determine whether you have any property rights.
To learn more about division of property laws or to schedule a consultation appointment, contact Davies Law Firm today at 613-688-0462.