When One becomes Two : The Separation of Assets
The marriage vows that almost all of us share with our spouses, before witnesses, are referenced from the Bible, Genesis 2:24. This common vow says, among other things, that two people become one entity, until “death do us part.”
This vow, in my opinion, forms the basis of todays blog. Several weeks ago in a previous blog, I wrote that in an ideal world, all marriages should last a lifetime. However, we do not live in a perfect world, and we have all witnessed, or even experienced firsthand, the reality of separation and divorce.
Canadian federal law guides the terms of separation and divorce, whereas each provinces’ laws dictate how property should be divided. In my blog’s introduction, I referenced that most marriage vows state that two people become one and that the case law of each province state that the property acquired during that union is to be divided 50/50, (albeit with a few exceptions), when that union turns “one into two”.
From time to time, there seems to be some confusion as to what property is. The definition of property for separation and divorce varies little from province to province. According to the book, “Surviving Your Divorce” by lawyer Michae G. Cochrane, LL. B, (pgs. 85 86, LegalIntel, Toronto, Ontario, 2015) couples that divorce should include everything that they have acquired during the time of cohabitation. This includes, but is not limited to:
The matrimonial home
Joint Savings Plans
Retirement Savings Plans
Tax Free Savings Accounts
Cottages and Cabins
The family business
Etc., Etc., Etc.,
The value of some things is easy to determine whereas, other things are more complex and will require the services of a 3rd party expert. Future blogs will get into the challenges and the nuances of splitting these valuable assets in order to reduce confusion, fighting and ultimately, the cost of divorce.