Dividing Your Assets
Matrimonial Property Act Considerations
The major piece of legislation that controls the splitting of assets upon the dissolution of a relationship is the Alberta Matrimonial Property Act. The law clearly favors an equal split of assets between the spouses. Basically you take the net worth of the person when they got together (before living together if the couple lived together before marriage) and then you take the net worth of the couple when the marriage breaks down. Then you subtract this figure to get a net worth for each person. You must then equalize this figure between the two parties. Some assets are exempt from being included in the value of the assets. This includes the proceeds of any gift from an estate, assets owned before the start of the relationship, or the value of any money received from a lawsuit if it was for a loss suffered by one party. These calculations can be simple or complicated depending on the situations of each couple. The Courts tend to allow couples to settle these matters between themselves rather than letting a Court decide the split. Just remember that the Courts will not support any agreement that is so one sided as to be seen as "Unconscionable". If the couple is willing to be open and honest about there financial affairs, then these calculations can be done without lawyers. If either side is trying to get an advantage over the other party then it will necessary to have lawyers protect your fair part of the assets. We are able to assist the parties by preparing suggested figures which can be accepted or rejected by the parties. If the parties agree then the matter can proceed on an uncontested basis. If the parties are not being reasonable then we will refer the parties to their own lawyers. We can provide referrals to lawyers that assist our clients when needed.
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