You and your spouse have likely collected quite a bit of property during your time together. Now that you’re divorcing, you must figure out how to divide it fairly.

Property division can be a stressful prospect for separating couples. Could you end up losing beloved heirlooms? Who will take the house? How can you navigate property division with less stress?

A British Columbia divorce lawyer can help guide you through the process. Pier Law & Mediation lawyers share more about property division and the process for dividing family property.

What Is the Division of Property?

Property division is, simply put, the process of separating assets after two spouses split. A British Columbia divorce lawyer can help oversee the process, advocating for your interests and helping to see that the property is divided fairly.

Generally, property falls into one of two categories.

Family Property

Sometimes known as “marital property,” this encompasses any assets (or debts) you and your spouse acquired while married or cohabiting, which exist at the time of separation, and can include assets such as:

  • A house
  • A car
  • Land
  • Bank accounts
  • Businesses

It may also include assets acquired after you and your spouse separated, provided those assets are derived from family property. 

Excluded Property

While many assets acquired during your marriage fall under “family property,” there are exceptions. Section 85 of the Family Law Act makes provisions for “excluded property” — that is, assets that won’t be included in the property division process. These may include:

  • Awards from court settlements
  • Property you inherited
  • Gifts from other individuals
  • Property you owned before marrying/cohabiting with your spouse

That said, if the assets increased in value during your marriage, the court may consider that increase “family property.” Speak to a legal separation advisor in British Columbia to learn more about what’s considered excluded property.

How Does the Division of Property Work?

Before the process can begin, you’ll need to determine what’s family property and what’s excluded property. You may want to seek divorce counsel in BC before you proceed, as a lawyer can provide you with more insight.

After the court has identified the family and excluded property, the actual division process begins. Generally speaking, all excluded property will remain with the individual who owns it, and family property will be split evenly between the two parties. How this division occurs may vary. For example, say that you and your former spouse purchased a house together. In that case, you could:

  • Sell the home and split the proceeds
  • Purchase the home from your spouse to continue living in it — or let your spouse purchase the home from you

While property division generally proceeds as planned, there may be some exceptions to the rules. For example, the court may deem that splitting family property would be significantly unfair to one spouse. In cases like these, they’d split the property unevenly. The court may also divide excluded property, provided not doing so would be significantly unfair to the other spouse.

It’s often helpful to request assistance from a British Columbia divorce lawyer during the division process. They can advocate for your rights and help ensure the division proceeds fairly.

Request Assistance from a Qualified Family Law Lawyer in BC

At Pier Law & Mediation, we aim to help guide our clients through the division process. We are knowledgeable, compassionate, and ready to provide you with advice. If you’d like to speak to a British Columbia divorce lawyer, call (604) 359-3159. Request a consultation today.

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