Dividing Property – Getting Your Fair Share

Dividing Property – Getting Your Fair Share

When two people get married, the happy couple enter at least two different partnerships, the emotional and the financial.  These partnerships begin on the wedding day and end on the date of separation.  For the purposes of this blog, it is my opinion that the separation of property is the easier of the two partnerships with which to deal.

Most young people getting married usually have more hopes and dreams than they have assets.  If fact, most young couples today bring a lot of debt into the marriage, be it in the form of student loans, automobile, and/or other consumer debt.  As the months and years go on, most couples start accumulating assets, while, hopefully, reducing their debt.

In a recent case with which I was involved, a couple, after 32 years of marriage, decided to divorce.  The couple started out like most young people at the time and after university, Mr. Y started working for the government.  That was 27 years ago.  He was an ambitious and capable employee and eventually worked himself into an important and prestigious position.   This career choice has resulted in, among other things, a great government pension and other lifetime benefits that he wants to trigger shortly.  Mrs. X was primarily a stay-at-home parent during that whole period.  Their comfortable home still has a modest mortgage and one of their vehicles is financed with three years remaining on the loan.

Both Mrs. X and Mr. Y had to work through a myriad of details if they were going to get divorced sooner than later. As mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog, they each had to work through the emotional challenges that they, their children, their friends, and their relatives all had.  The couple felt confident to tackle making the necessary financial statements that were necessary to split the assets.  The emotional strain each felt when having to sit down and do the work drained their energy.  It was simply more fun to binge watch the latest Netflix series.

Getting through a divorce can often be a litigious and costly affair.  Fortunately, there are choices each person involved in the divorce can make.  Luckily, provincial guidelines provide forms to help guide the process for the division of assets.  If the work is completed honestly, and accurately, the division of assets can be quite smooth and helps the Federal legal processes that determine if and how much support can be paid and for how long. 

My recommendation to this couple was to use a variety of people as resources to help them work through details.  Because separation and divorce are so emotionally charged, why shouldn’t Mr. Y and Mrs. X engage specialists to help them reach a fair and cost-effective financial settlement?   Lawyers, counsellors, mediators, collaborators, valuators, and Chartered Financial Divorce Specialists (CFDS) are just a few of the specialists that are available in the marketplace.

Creating a team of support during the divorce process can be the best thing each person can do.  Competent legal help is important, as is a good counsellor who can help each person process feelings of hurt and anger constructively.  The Certified Financial Divorce Specialist can provide process and insight as to how and why one might divide the assets in a certain way.  The CFDS should also provide Future Value calculations as to the long-term ramifications of one strategy over another. 

According to economist Dr. Thomas Sowell, “scarce resources have alternative uses.”  Time and money are limited for all of us, especially for those going through divorce. Recognize your own gifts and talents and hire experts in the areas in which you need help.

If you think you need my help in your divorce, fill out the contact form in this webpage and send it to me.  I will be happy to help.

Al Dyck – CFP, CFDS


Surviving Your Divorce, A Guide to Canadian Family Law, Michael G. Cochrane, LL.B., 6th Edition, 2015, pgs. 83 – 85

Basic Economics, A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, Thomas Sowell, 2015, pg. 2

Note:  I am in favour of marriage!  Healthy and happy families are the primary units of a strong and vital society and should be encouraged!  Like all noble endeavours, it takes hard work, sweat and tears to make something beautiful and worthwhile!  If divorce is the route a couple take, then make the break clean, quick, and efficient… your financial future depends on it!