Separating and divorcing couples are often uncertain about "who gets what". Unfortunately, the answer depends on many factors, and often requires evaluation by an experienced lawyer.
Married couples who decide to divorce are legally obligated to divide the assets and property that they have acquired during the marriage. This is called property equalization. Common law couples do not have an automatic right to share in each other's property, but can often make a constructive trust claim that still enables some property equalization.
The biggest asset for most families is their matrimonial home. Several unique rules apply to the division of a matrimonial home, you should consult a lawyer to see how these rules affect your situation.
Other assets that should be reviewed are:
- Other Real Estate (cottages, investment properties, etc.)
- Vehicles (cars, motorcycles, boats etc.)
- Bank accounts
- Pensions (CPP, RRSPs, TFSAs, etc.)
- Investment portfolios
- Business Interests (fully and partially owned businesses, stock options, etc.)
It is important to know (and gather records supporting) the valuation of all these at:
- The date of marriage
- The date of separation
Based on these asset values, your lawyer can calculate the total assets and liabilities that each spouse has accumulated during the marriage in order to determine what equalization payment is owed.
There are many intricacies to locating and valuing the various family assets. To make sure you get what you deserve, it is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.