Is it divisible and how?
Are you separated from your spouse? Have you been told that you and your spouse will divide everything you own equally? Are you worried because you want to purchase property, a new car for example, before your separation is finalized, but you don’t want your spouse to have any interest in this new property?
If you answered “yes” to all three questions above, here is what you need to know in a nutshell:
- Only family property is divisible at separation.
- Family property is:
- all real property (land, buildings, houses, etc.) and personal property (cars, boats, money in bank accounts, etc.) that either you or your spouse owns at separation, and
- all real property and personal property that either you or your spouse purchases after separation if family property was used to make the purchase.
Example: Buying a New Car
So, if you use $10,000.00 that was in your bank account before separation to buy a new car, the new car is family property. Or, if you sell the car you had before separation for $10,000.00 and use this money to buy a new car, the new car is family property.
However, in either scenario above, your spouse would only be entitled to half of the $10,000.00 used to buy the new car. If you bought the car for $25,000.00, and the additional $15,000.00 came from money you earned after separation, your spouse would be entitled to half of $10,000.00 not half of $25,000.00.
Protecting your Property
The bottom line is: if you don’t want your spouse to have any interest in new property, don’t use family property to purchase it. Buy new property using only money earned after separation.
Or, if your parents want to buy you a new car, that’s okay too.
If you have any questions, or would like more information on the division of family property, please call us to schedule a consultation with one of our family law lawyers. We have offices in downtown Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.