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New Family Law Act - How does it effect property?

Blog by Diane Cardoso | June 3rd, 2013

The new Family Law Act came into force on March 18, 2013 and there are several changes in the Property division of the Act. Under the new Family Law Act, unmarried couples (common law) for at least 2 years are considered to be spouses and are treated the same as married couples for the purpose of property division.

What is Family Property?

Family property is all property that either spouse owns at separation, regardless of who's name it is in, including the family home, RRSPs, investments, shares, income tax refunds, bank accounts, insurance policies, and pensions, unless the property is excluded.

What is Excluded property?

Excluded property includes property acquired by a spouse or held in trust before the relationship, gifts or inheritances, settlements or rewards of damage, and moneys paid under an insurance policy, other than a policy respecting property. The exclusion does not include increases in property value during the relationship.

Debt accrued during the relationship is also presumptively equally shared. This includes mortgages, loans, bank lines of credit or over drafts, credit cards, income tax, and repair costs.

Common Law Couples who do not want the property division rules to apply to them can opt-out by preparing a written agreement and divide their property and debt as they see fit. Couples can also enter into a cohabitation agreement.

As always, it is in your best interest to obtain legal advice before proceeding.

Courtesy of REBGV.