Property division and why shared assets don’t have to be roadblocks in your new life
Sometimes in a divorce, property division becomes a power struggle.
But coming out the winner in your divorce rarely feels good when all is said and done.
In reality, coming out fair, so your children see both parents thrive and work together in civility to shape the new life you all share, should be the goal.
Shared assets can cause strain as both parties try to ensure fairness is maintained. But working with a mediator (like us) gives your family an experienced guide as you work through this often contentious process.
What kind of assets play into property division?
Property division covers all assets either partner considers valuable. That can include:
- Real estate and other property ownership.
- Business ownership or interests.
- Furniture and appliances.
- Tools and heavy equipment.
- Sentimental objects and keepsakes.
- Life insurance policies.
- Bank accounts and/or savings.
- RRSPs and other investments.
Whatever you or your partner deem valuable becomes part of the property division agreement.
How much will I pay, or how much will my partner pay me?
In Ontario, spousal support almost always comes from the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income. There is no gender bias.
When calculating the payment, a judge is bound by law to consider:
- Financial means of both spouses.
- Total time married.
- Child care and ongoing responsibilities.
Your financial status changes following a divorce, but it’s important for the children to see both parents with an equal chance at a prosperous life outside the marriage.
The support payment is more about your children than your spouse – let that guide your perspective when arranging a dollar value.
What kind of legal framework exists to guide property division?
The Ontario Family Law Act governs property division in a divorce.
Fairness and equality is the goal, and neither partner is unfairly targeted.
Divorce property division is usually calculated as follows:
- Value of property you both acquired during marriage and still have at the time of divorce & separation must be divided equally among spouses.
- Property you brought into the marriage is yours to keep.
- Increases in value of property you brought to the marriage must be shared with your spouse and is called equalization of net family property (equalization payments are brought into the equation for the purpose of sharing this value).
Who gets the house?
This is a complex issue when partners can’t agree on arrangements for the house.
If you and your partner can’t agree about what to do with the house, one of you can apply for an order of partition and sale.
The court will order you and your partner to sell the house and split the proceeds.
There is no right of first refusal within family law, so if the house is ordered to be sold and one partner wishes to continue living there, that partner must bid on the open market with all other buyers.
Of course, this isn’t an ideal situation. It almost always causes upheaval for the children and leads to greater conflict.
Lots of families come up with creative solutions for arrangements within the house:
- Parents alternate weeks living at the family house and at a new home, so the children maintain the stability of the family home.
- Parents cohabitate the family home.
- Parents decide which of them stays in the family home.
- Parents rent out the family home and both move to new residences.
However you go about it, property division doesn’t have to be a battle between angry parents. It can work toward an arrangement where both parents are treated fairly and the kids see a positive outcome for each.
Contact us today. We can help make property division smooth and positive for you, your partner and your children.