Saskatoon Property Division Lawyers Helping Clients Divide Their Assets Fairly During Divorce
One of the most complicated aspects of divorce is dividing up family property. After all, you likely spent years with the mindset that any major assets you purchased also belonged to your spouse, and now you have to figure out how to separate them. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Panko Collaborative Law & Mediation, our team is here to help with making sure your marital assets are divided equally during a divorce.
Whether you have one family home and some bank accounts or multiple properties and business interests to divide up, a skilled property division lawyer can guide you through the process of equal division. We want to make sure you get the assets you’re entitled to when you separate from your spouse, so contact our Saskatoon property division lawyers today.
What Is Family Property?
As you begin the divorce process in Canada, you will likely wonder which assets you’ll be expected to split with your spouse. According to the Family Property Act, both spouses in a marriage or common law relationship are expected to equally divide any assets acquired after they got married or entered into the common law relationship. This is called family property, and it often includes:
- The family home
- Recreational properties
- Bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- Any other assets purchased after you got married and before your separation date
When you get divorced, you and your spouse can decide how to divide the property evenly to ensure both people get an equal share. This might require you and your spouse to attend mediation to come to an agreement on family property division, in which case we can help you.
If it turns out you want to take more of the non-liquid assets than your spouse, and they agree to this, you can set up an equalization payment to make sure they’re compensated financially. For example, if you want to keep a specific property or vehicle that your spouse is not interested in keeping, you can arrange to send them a payment for half the value of the asset.
Once you arrive at a decision that suits both of you, it’s important to write it down in a legally binding agreement to file with the court. If you cannot come to an agreement with the help of mediation, you might have to rely on a court judgment, in which a judge decides for you. It’s typically better if you and your spouse can come to a compromise together, as you’re more likely to end up with at least some of the assets you want. When you come to our Saskatoon law firm, you can get in touch with a property division lawyer who will help identify your family property and ensure that it’s split evenly. Call our offices today to begin this important step in your divorce.
Are Assets Always Split Equally?
While the family property is usually equally split when married spouses separate, there are some exceptions to this. In some cases, a judge might request an unequal division of family property if splitting it evenly would seem unfair to one spouse. Before making this decision, the judge would consider how long the married spouses have been together when the property was purchased, how much each spouse contributed to this purchase, how much interest they have in it, and other factors.
In addition, not all assets qualify as family property. If you bought an asset before you got married, you will typically not have to split it with your spouse because it’s considered exempt property. The same is true of any property acquired after your separation date. So, if you purchased jewelry before you got married, you will likely get to keep this asset. Similarly, if you bought a motorcycle after your date of separation, you can likely keep it. Your property division lawyer will let you know which specific items count as exempt property during your divorce.
Another example of a property you likely won’t have to share is an inheritance. If your family member passed away and left an asset to you, it’s considered just yours. The same goes for gifts from loved ones. If it’s clear they gave the gift to you, not to you and your spouse to share, you can usually keep it.
Granted, there are some exceptions to this. If you used gifted or inherited money to buy the family home, you still have to share the value of the property equally with your spouse, since the family home is nearly always split evenly. This also goes for any household goods you brought into the family home. Even though they were yours before the marriage or common-law relationship began, they became family property once your spouse started using them regularly in the family home, so they will be split equally. Additionally, if you bought an asset before you got married, and it’s increased in value since the date of your wedding, you will be expected to split the increased value with your spouse since that money was made during your relationship.
As you can see, it’s not always easy to determine how to divide your belongings during a divorce. Our trusted legal professionals for families in Saskatoon can help identify and claim property for you depending on what the law states you are supposed to do with it. Contact our Saskatoon property division lawyers to learn more.
What Happens to the Family Home?
Since the house you lived in with your spouse is considered family property, you will likely split this asset equally. This is the case even if only one spouse has their name on the property or if one spouse already moved out before the divorce was final. The only detail to note is that if you suddenly stopped paying the mortgage, insurance premiums, or property taxes, the amount you get from the house may be adjusted accordingly, assuming your spouse paid those costs for you after the date of separation.
For most people, the easiest way to handle this asset is to sell it and split the proceeds of the sale. After all, most people can’t afford to pay the full mortgage and all their other bills as newly single persons. But they also don’t typically have the money to buy their spouse out and stay in the home, since they would have to send a payment to their spouse for half the value of the home. As such, most people sell the family home during the divorce. Keep in mind that both spouses must agree to any actions that involve the house, so whether you choose to sell or rent out the home, your spouse must be on board with this. If you’re having trouble coming to an agreement, come to mediation at our Saskatoon law firm for help.
If you wish to keep the house and your spouse agrees to this, you will likely need to refinance the mortgage in your name only. This means you should be prepared to qualify for the mortgage on your own. Refinancing may also help you get the money you need to send your spouse since you will need to give them half the value unless you’ve made other arrangements.
If your spouse wants to keep the house, remember to take your name off the mortgage. Otherwise, if they miss payments on the house, your credit score will be affected. Talk to a property division lawyer if you have questions about this or other legal matters when you seek a divorce in Saskatoon.
How Can Property Division Lawyers Help?
Divorce is a tough process to go through, but it’s even worse when you realize you were unfairly left with nothing because your spouse took advantage of the situation. You deserve to know you’re getting your fair share, which should be about half of the family property at the very least. If you’re not sure what counts as marital assets and what belongs to just you or your spouse, let us help. Our property division lawyers in Saskatoon will examine a list of your assets and let you know which ones you’re entitled to keep and which ones to share.
We understand that this stage of divorce can be very confusing and even overwhelming, but we want to remind you that you don’t have to go through it alone. Our legal team is here to answer all your questions and provide you with peace of mind, ensuring you have someone representing your best interests during the divorce process. If you don’t pay close attention to how your assets are being split up, there’s a chance you will end up with a lot less than you should get, leaving you in a financially difficult position and resentful of your spouse. We don’t want to see that happen, so we encourage you to let us help.
If you’re ready to start listing, categorizing, and splitting up your assets, we invite you to contact us at 306-518-8107. We can provide mediation or collaborative law services to you and your spouse if you’re struggling to agree on how to divide your assets. If you want the chance to calmly talk about the division of property without going to court, schedule an initial consultation with a property division lawyer at our law firm today.