Our experienced and tenacious Fort St. John Family Property debt division lawyers will help ensure that you receive a fair share of the family property and family debt following separation. Contact our Fort St. John family law office to book a prompt appointment so your rights are protected. Today, Jaye Rutledge, of our Fort St. John family law office gives a good summary of how family property and excluded property are dealt with on relationship breakdown.
Fort St. John Family Property Debt Lawyers
Under the Family Law Act, an ex-spouse is entitled to family property and has responsibility for debts if the separating parties were married or lived together in a marriage-like relationship for a continuous period of 2 years. As a result, in Fort St. John Family Property Debt cases common-law spouses may be entitled to property division just as married spouses are. Click here for the government of BC summary.
Key Law Tip
When it is in dispute whether a common-law marriage has lasted a continuous 2 years it is important to create a timeline detailing significant events in the relationship, such as when you began telling people you were in a relationship, when you began and stopped cohabitating, any breaks in the relationship, and when/if you began to mix your finances. This Fort St. John Family Property debt division area is a complex one, so it pays to meet with us early on if you feel your marriage like relationship or marriage is shaky.
Limitation Alert For Family Property Division
In order to make a claim for Fort St. John Family Property debt division, married couples must make a claim within two years of their divorce or nullity and marriage-like relationship spouses must bring the claim within two years of their separation.
By default, the definition of what is family property is broad and all kinds of personal and company property, stocks, pensions, investments, discretionary trust interests and the like will be considered family property and will be most likely be split equally on separation. Family property includes any assets or equity in a small business, entitlements under a pension plan or RSP, and any increase in the value of property acquired before the relationship since the relationship began.
Property that will not generally be split on separation is called excluded property. The most common kind of excluded property include:
- property acquired before or after the relationship;
- gifts or inheritances given to one of the spouses from a third-party;
- property brought into the relationship (It is important to note that just the starting value is excluded but the gain on it is family property!)
The onus is on the spouse seeking to exclude property in a Fort St. John family property debt case to prove both the starting value and that it should be excluded from being family property.
While the excluded property is generally not divided, it is possible under the Family Law Act if the court determines that not dividing the excluded property would be significantly unfair.
Significantly Unfair May Mean Unequal Family Property Division
Our Fort St. John family property debt lawyers note that the court can sometimes (this is not a common occurrence) divide family property other than equally to take into account things like:
- the duration of the relationship between the spouses;
- a spouses contribution to the career or career potential of the other spouse;
- whether family debt was incurred in the normal course of the relationship;
- the ability of each spouse to pay a share of the family debt;
- the contribution of the family debt or devaluation of an asset by a particular spouse;