It can be very difficult to plan for the end of a marriage. Certainly, most British Columbia residents do not get married expecting the union to end in divorce. However, it is very important for both parties to be forward thinking on the subject of divorce, as the process can be quite complicated, especially as it pertains to property division.
Generally speaking, property or assets owned by a spouse prior to the marriage would remain the property of that spouse in the event of a divorce (for example, a car or home owned before the marriage papers were signed). However, assets that are accrued during the course of the marriage could be subject to division, depending on the laws of the province or territory of residence. This is because such assets are typically considered to be part of the “net family property.”
There are ways to protect such assets even if they are considered marital on paper. For example, if a spouse inherits a sum of money from a deceased family member, and that money remains invested only in that spouse’s name, it is not considered part of the net family property. It is only subject to division if it is invested jointly with a spouse, or if it is invested in family property (even to pay down debts).
Property division is just one part of the overall divorce process. Approaching this process can seem daunting for British Columbia residents unfamiliar with the law. This is why it is beneficial for both spouses to secure individual representation in the form of experienced divorce attorneys who can help navigate these complicated waters and lay the groundwork for a happier future.