Property division can raise multiple questions and concerns

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Property division can raise multiple questions and concerns

Ontario people who are married and considering divorce may have many questions. Although scores of answers could be forthcoming from friends and family, it may best to seek legal guidance. Property division may be the most confusing part of an upcoming divorce. While most people know that marital assets are equally divided, there may be some confusion about which assets are regarded as marital property.

Marital assets include everything that the couple purchased during the marriage. This may include the family’s primary residence, their cars, stock earnings, bank accounts and even the furniture and the TV. As long as they acquired it during the time of the marriage, it must be shared — and that rule also applies to debt. However, if they allocated certain assets or debts to one spouse in a prenuptial agreement, that will take precedence.

As in most legal matters, exceptions exist and may include inheritances, gifts or trust money that were kept separate and not used for the family’s benefit. The same goes for insurance settlements or insurance proceeds that were paid to one spouse and not commingled. Business assets of one spouse are not divisible, except if the other spouse made significant contributions to the success of the company. Property specified in a separation agreement or marital contract or acquired after the couple separated will not be shared.

These are likely only some of the questions, and much more may still be unanswered. Confusion sometimes exists about the marital home and also in cases in which the couple lived in a common-law arrangement and never married. The most appropriate step might be to discuss all the concerns about property division and other family law issues with an experienced Ontario divorce lawyer.

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