Matrimonial Property Division LAWYER
Located in Surrey, BC.

HIGHLAND LAW is a law firm in Surrey, British Columbia.

Rules of the division of property in BC applies to married couples and couples who have been living together for at least two years in a marriage-like relationship. You will likely begin dividing assets when you separate. You will need to agree on how your property will be divided before a divorce is granted or any issues must be resolved through arbitration or a trial.

When a couple separates, family property is shared equally unless there is an agreement that states otherwise. Family property includes everything that each spouse owned separately or together on the date of separation regardless of whose name the family property is in. This can include assets such as the family home, RRSP’s, investments, bank accounts, insurance policies, pensions, an interest in a business and the amount of any increase in the value of any excluded property since the relationship began.

For example, if your home was worth $250,000 when your spouse moved in and the housing market went up by the time you separate giving your house a value of $400,000, you would keep the original $250,000 and share the appreciation equity of $150,000 between the two of you.

Excluded property includes:

  • Gifts and inheritances given to one spouse during the relationship
  • Property that one spouse owned before the relationship started
  • Some kinds of insurance proceeds, damage awards and trust property

Any increases in value of the excluded property during the time you were living together will be deemed as family property and will be divided equally. In some unusual circumstances, excluded property may be divided such as in the case of long interdependent relationships. If family property is located outside of B.C. and deemed difficult to divide, excluded property may be divided to compensate. A court will only divide family property unequally if it is deemed significantly unfair to do so.

There are time limits for making a claim to divide family property. For couples that were married, there must be an application to divide property no later than two years after an order for divorce or annulment is received. For common-law partners, an application must be made within two years of the date of separation.

Couples can make an agreement if they wish to divide their property in a different manner. A separation lawyer can help you develop a separation agreement that will outline how you will divide matrimonial property. They can also discuss any exemptions that may apply. For help with separation agreements and advice on matrimonial property division, contact Highland Law.


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