How Do I Get Out of Sharing My Assets?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Married spouses and unmarried spouses

Married spouses and unmarried couples who have lived together for at least two years are presumed to have a one-half interest in all propertySomething which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real property." either or both of them acquired after the date the couple married or began to live together, whichever came first. Certain property is excluded from the family propertyA term under the ''Family Law Act'' referring to property acquired by either or both spouses during their relationship, as well as after separation if bought with family property. Both spouses are presumed to be equally entitled to share in family property. See "excluded property." the spouses are expected to divide, including:

  • the value of the property owned by each spouseUnder the ''Divorce Act'', either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the ''Family Law Act'', married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship." on the date the couple married or began to live together, whichever came first,
  • property bought with the property owned by each spouse on the date the couple married or began to live together,
  • inheritances and gifts received during the relationship,
  • court awards and insurance proceeds received during the relationship, and
  • trusts to which the spouse did not contribute and does not control.

If you want to do better than this, you'll have to sign a marriage agreementAn agreement signed by people who are planning on marrying or have married that is intended to govern their rights and obligations in the event of the breakdown of their marriage and, sometimes, their rights and obligations during their marriage. See "family law agreement." or a cohabitation agreementAn agreement signed by people who are or have begun to live together in a marriage-like relationship that is intended to govern their rights and obligations in the event of the breakdown of their relationship and, sometimes, their rights and obligations during their relationship. See "family law agreement." at some point before or shortly after you marry or begin to live together.

If you don't want to spend the money getting an agreement drawn up, here are some other things that can help:

  • When you begin to live together, take copies of the statements from all of your bank, investment, retirement, credit and loan accounts, copies of your BC Assessments for all real propertyA parcel of land and the buildings on that land. See "chattel," "ownership" and "possession.", staple them together and put them in a safety deposit box. This will help you to establish the value of the property you brought into the relationship.
  • During your relationship, keep a careful record of what you buy with the property you brought into the relationship.
  • During your relationship, keep records of the dates and values of any inheritances, gifts, insurance proceeds or court awardA mandatory direction of an arbitrator, binding and enforceable upon the parties to an arbitration proceeding, made following the hearing of the arbitration trial proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to challenge or appeal the award in court. See "appeal," "arbitration" and "family law arbitrator." that you receive.
  • Keep an eye on the debts your spouse incurs during the relationship.

You can find out more about how married spouses and unmarried spouses divide property in the chapter Property & Debt in Family Law Matters.


Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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