Interim Distribution of Family Property (Part 1)

Interim Distribution of Family Property (Part 1)

Are you in a dispute with your former spouse about how to divide family assets? Having trouble financing your legal claim? Did you know that you can apply to the court to receive an early distribution of what you think you may be entitled to from the family assets?

When spouses enter into a legal dispute over the division of their assets, it is not uncommon for it to take 18 months or more to come to a resolution. During this process, litigants can accumulate significant legal expenses. Often times, individuals will leave a relationship on unequal footing, with one spouse having greater access to the bulk of family assets. For example, the family home may be registered on title in the name of one of the spouses only and that spouse may have ousted his or her spouse from the home, leaving them without any immediate access to the equity in the home. When there is inequality in the financial positions of spouses, the wealthier spouse can afford to drag out the legal process, while the other spouse struggles to pay everyday expenses and ongoing legal bills. 

Courts recognize this inequality and to level the playing field, may order that the wealthier spouse pay an “interim distribution” or advance on what the recipient spouse may be entitled to at law. The funds are to be used exclusively towards funding the family law case, which can include the cost of going to court, mediation, or arbitration and all of the costs for preparing for these processes, including the costs of expert reports and appraisals. 

In Part 2 of this series, we will explore what factors the courts will consider when deciding whether an interim distribution is appropriate in your case.

The inability to pay legal expenses should not be the reason why you are prevented from advancing your claim to family assets. Meet with a lawyer for a free consultation to discuss the likelihood of succeeding in an application for interim distribution in your legal case. Please contact Hart Legal.