How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in Alberta?
Divorce is one of the top five stressful life events that a person can experience. If you are currently going through a divorce, you know how overwhelming it can seem. An experienced family law lawyer can help temper this stress.
If you are considering a divorce, or are just starting the divorce process, you may be wondering: how is property divided in a divorce in Alberta? This article is here to help you understand the basics of property division.
Read on to learn more about the different types of assets, how the courts classify them, and how the courts divide the property between you and your spouse.
Family property includes anything acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This includes any homes purchased by either spouse, whether together or individually.
Other things considered family property include:
- Vacation homes or investment properties
- Motor vehicles
- Artwork and jewelry
- Stocks and shares
- Savings accounts
There are some special considerations for the family home, which is typically the most significant asset acquired in the marriage.
The Family Home
To be a family home, the home must be in Alberta, leased or owned by one or both spouses, and occupied by the two spouses at some point during the marriage.
It could be an entire home or a part of a house, a condominium, or a mobile home. Excluded here would be homes owned by someone else (such as your parents).
Exempt property is anything that either spouse acquired before the marriage. It could also include property that either spouse inherits or receives as a gift during the marriage. Exempt property is not subject to division under the Family Property Act.
There is an exception to this, though. If the exempt property increases in value during the marriage, that increase in value is not exempt. The increase in value is not exempt, as it is a product of the marriage and gets divided between the spouses.
How Property Is Divided in a Divorce in Alberta
The Alberta Family Property Act calls for the fair division of family assets. This usually means that the assets are divided equally between the spouses, but this is not always the case. The courts do not consider things like infidelity or domestic abuse during the relationship.
There may be circumstances where judges are inclined to divide the property unequally and award more assets to one spouse, but this will be decided on a case by case basis.
When it comes to the family home, a number of things can happen. One person could buy out the other person, depending on how the home's value is divided. The home could be sold and the profits split according to the judge's order as well.
If one party is to remain in the home, the judge could award exclusive possession to one spouse, force the other spouse to leave the home, or prohibit the other spouse from entering the property. These situations are unique and depend on the evicted spouse having other housing alternatives and the best interests of any children who may still reside at home.
Common Law Couples
Effective January 1, 2020, the Alberta Family Property Act also applies to certain common law couples, if they are able to be considered Adult Interdependent partners under the Alberta Interdependent Relationships Act.
Hire an Alberta Divorce Lawyer
The division of property in a divorce in Alberta can be a complex matter. In an amicable divorce, both spouses may readily come to an agreement on how to divide their property. A contentious divorce, however, is not so easy.
This is why a lawyer is necessary if you are getting a divorce in Alberta. An experienced divorce lawyer at Dukeshire Law Office will help you navigate the divorce process and ensure that your assets are fairly divided.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your family law matters in NW Calgary.