Preparing for property and debt division in British Columbia

Although people may be aware that their property will be divided in a divorce, they may not be aware that debts will also be allocated by the court between the spouses. A further complication may include the fact that a determination will need to be made regarding what is joint property versus what should be set aside as property that is separately owned.

People who are preparing to divorce may approach the division of property and debts by starting with a careful accounting of both. To begin, it is a good idea for a person to determine their net worth, which is simply the assets they own minus their owed debts. When trying to determine the different categories of assets, individuals may find that some will be deemed jointly owned by both spouses while others will be considered the separate assets of each spouse.

Generally, people should exclude the premarriage value of retirement pensions in their calculations, although increases in value that occurred during the marriage will be deemed as joint marital property. Also excluded will be inheritances and gifts as well as property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage. After determining what should be considered as joint and separate property, the person should then gather all documents and statements for each held asset and debt.

Property division may be a complex undertaking, especially in cases in which people have significant and varied holdings or substantial debts. With a careful approach, people may be better able to understand the value of their estates and the manner in which their property should be divided. Those who are preparing to divorce may want to gather their documents and seek a consultation with a family law lawyer. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement or litigate as needed.

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