In Canada, the Divorce Act does not deal with sharing your property or debts. Each province and territory has its own law that sets out the rules for dividing the property and debts you and your spouse have.
1. Consider what is Family Property
” Property” includes such things as the home you and your spouse shared, its contents, any other real estate, pensions from employment, Canada or Quebec Pension Plan credits, RRSPs, investments, bank accounts and cash. Debts include such things as amounts you owe on your credit cards, your mortgage, and any loans you have. Some provinces or territories also include business assets in their definition of property. It is very important to receive legal advice on property division.
2. Set Out in Writing What You Have Agreed To
Usually, people who are separating come to an agreement about how to divide the property and debts fairly. This agreement may become part of the written separation agreement.
3. Detail all your assets and Consider Getting Legal Advice
For separation agreements to be legally binding, they usually require independent legal advice and full financial disclosure.
4. Do Not Wait Too Long to Divide your Property
In some provinces and territories, if you wait too long after your separation or divorce to make a claim, you may lose all your rights to share in family property or spousal support.
5. Also Consider Your Canada Pension Plan Credits
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) credits are a special category of property. Once you and your spouse are separated, and if you meet other basic requirements, you or your spouse can fill in a form to ask the CPP to divide equally the CPP credits you both earned while you were married. The Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) also allows you to split your pension credits.
Your local Canada Pension Plan office has pamphlets that tell you how to do this.
More information about dividing and sharing family property can be found at www.russellalexander.com