A Look at How Matrimonial Assets Are Divided in a Divorce in Alberta

Do you need help with dividing assets in a divorce? At Capital City Law, we frequently help our clients with property division in Alberta through the process of a divorce or separation.

Marital assets are handled in a very specific way by the courts in Alberta. Take a moment to become familiar with some of the basics of how assets are divided when going through a separation or divorce. Of course, it is so important to seek the help of an Edmonton lawyer specializing in family law.  Know that Capital City Law is here to answer all your questions.

A Quick Guide to Marital Property and Divorce

The Family Property Act dictates how property is divided in Alberta.  Alberta law actually divides property into three broadly defined groups. The first category is exempt property. Here’s a list of property types that are exempt from being divided:

  • Property that has been gifted to a spouse by a third party.
  • Property acquired by a spouse by inheritance.
  • Property that was acquired by a spouse prior to a marriage.
  • Anything that was received by a spouse as part of an award or settlement for damages (if the compensation was awarded to only one spouse).
  • The proceeds of an insurance policy that is not insurance in respect of property (if the proceeds were awarded to only one spouse).

This exempt property would not be divided between the spouses, and would remain the sole property of the spouse who possessed or received it.  Exempt sums can only be considered exempt if they still exist at the time of the division. The complexities of asset division in Alberta make working with a divorce lawyer extremely important.

The second category covers the exempt property above that has increased or changed over the time of the marriage. This category can include income that comes from an exempt or gifted property. This property may be divisible, but Alberta law does not dictate that this property needs to be divided on an equal basis.

All Other Items

For the non-exempt property, the presumption is that it will be divided equally between both parties. However, the Court may deviate from the standard distribution in some cases. Here are some circumstances that could lead to an exception on the part of the Court:

  • A property was acquired during a period of separation.
  • One spouse has handled property matters to the detriment of the other.
  • One spouse has gifted or transferred a property for less than the fair market value.

Are you trying to figure out if an exemption applies in your case? Are you entitled to an unequal division of property? Capital City Law divorce lawyers can provide guidance when it comes to understanding which distribution rules may apply in your case. We encourage those going through a separation or divorce to act quickly when it comes to asset division.

What Are Considered Marital Assets?

Alberta courts have strict definitions regarding items that are considered to be marital assets.  Items owned by one or both parties are considered to be a shared asset.

The fact that a property may be registered in the name of only one spouse will not necessarily make a difference in the eyes of the court. Here’s a list of some specific assets that are considered when handling property division in Alberta:

  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Boats
  • All-terrain vehicles
  • Pensions
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • RRSPs
  • Corporate or business interests
  • Debts

Some items that are often overlooked, but that may need to be considered in the property division, include:

  • Credit card rewards or travel miles.
  • Goodwill in a business.
  • Unpaid income taxes.
  • Debts from before the marriage that were paid off during the marriage.

Do You Have Questions About Dividing Assets in a Divorce?

Having the advice of a divorce lawyer is beneficial when so much is on the table. Contact Capital City Law today online or by phone at (780) 462-4321 to request a free consultation.

photo of a house and family vehicle divided - property division is a major issue in most divorces. Contact Capital City Law in Edmonton for more information on how property is split in a divorce or separation

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