Divorce can be a challenging time for couples and their families, and one of the most complicated aspects of this process is the division of property. In Alberta, property division is governed by the Matrimonial Property Act, which provides guidelines for how assets and debts should be distributed among spouses. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about property division in family law in Alberta.
The basics of property division in Alberta The Matrimonial Property Act applies to married couples who are separating or divorcing, and it outlines how property is to be divided in the event of a breakdown of the marriage. The Act states that all property acquired during the marriage is considered matrimonial property and is subject to division between the spouses. However, certain assets are exempt from division, including property owned before the marriage, inheritances, and gifts.
In Alberta, property is divided based on the principle of equalization, which means that each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the marital property. This is determined by calculating the net family property, which is the value of the assets and debts that each spouse acquired during the marriage. The spouse with the higher net family property must pay the other spouse an equalization payment to ensure that each spouse receives an equal share of the marital property.
What Factors Are Considered in Property Division?
When determining how property should be divided, the court will consider several factors, including each spouse’s financial contribution to the marriage, the length of the marriage, the needs of each spouse and any children, and any agreements made between the spouses. In some cases, a court may also take into account any misconduct by either spouse that affected the value of the property or the other spouse’s ability to acquire property.
How to Protect Your Assets During Property Division
If you are going through a divorce or separation, it is important to take steps to protect your assets. First, it is important to document all of your assets, including bank accounts, investments, and property deeds. You should also avoid making any major financial decisions until after the divorce is finalized, as this could impact the division of property.
What is Considered Property?
Property can include any assets or debts that a person or entity owns. In the context of family law, property can include real estate, personal property (such as vehicles, furniture, and jewelry), investments, bank accounts, pensions, and debts (such as credit card balances, loans, and mortgages). It is important to note that property that was acquired before a marriage, or received as a gift or inheritance, may be exempt from division depending on the laws of the specific jurisdiction.
What Is A Matrimonial Home Under The MPA?
Under the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) in Alberta, a matrimonial home is defined as any property that is ordinarily occupied by both spouses at the time of separation. This can include a house, condominium, apartment, or any other type of dwelling.
The matrimonial home is treated differently than other types of property under the MPA, and it is subject to special rules in terms of division and possession. Specifically, each spouse has an equal right to remain in the matrimonial home after separation, regardless of who owns the property.
This means that a court may order that one spouse be allowed to remain in the home, or that the home be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. The rules surrounding matrimonial homes can be complex, so it is important to seek the advice of a qualified family law lawyer if you have questions about your rights and obligations in relation to your matrimonial home.
What if We Can’t Agree on Property Division?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on property division, you may need to seek the assistance of a family law lawyer or a mediator to help you negotiate a settlement. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps the parties to reach an agreement. In some cases, the court may also be asked to make a decision on property division. If the court is required to intervene, it will make a decision based on the laws of the jurisdiction, and take into account various factors, such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, and the needs of any children involved.
It is also important to seek the advice of a qualified family law lawyer who can guide you through the property division process and ensure that your rights are protected. A lawyer can provide valuable advice on how to negotiate with your spouse, represent you in court, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
Navigating property division in family law can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, but it is important to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair settlement. If you are going through a divorce or separation, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified family law lawyer who can provide valuable guidance and support. The lawyers at Kurie Moore Law Group have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, including property division, and are committed to helping their clients achieve the best possible outcome.