You may wonder what assets you have to divide with your spouse or partner upon separation or divorce.
Any asset whether real estate, a business, a pension, furnishings, tools, investments or cash is or may be family property.
Debt of any kind owed by either spouse is or may be a family debt to be shared.
Assets owned by you at the time cohabitation began or assets acquired during the cohabitation, such as by inheritance for example, is potentially “excluded property”. The increase in value of all property including excluded property is shared equally upon breakdown of the relationship.
To be considered, potentially excluded property must be traceable into present assets.
Experts such as appraisers, business valuers, actuaries and accountants may be required to value property such as the family home, recreational property, the business, and pensions to determine the value of excluded property when the spouses began cohabitation and the present value. Each spouse has a right to 50% of the increase in value during cohabitation.
Often pensions are overlooked and that they may be worth as much as the equity in the family home and certainly more than most people think.
This is the most complicated issue facing family lawyers these days. Cohen Buchan Edwards can assist you to determine what is family property, what is excluded property and how you may share that property.