Married spouses who decide to terminate their marriage and separate, are legally entitled to a division of the property that they have amassed together during the marriage. In Ontario, this process is known as the equalization of net family property. Equalization is not an actual division of the individual assets, but a calculation and division of the net total value of all assets (minus the liabilities) that the couple has accumulated during the marriage. In the context of equalization, property refers to property of all kinds, including land, stocks, pensions, bank accounts, vehicles, and RRSPs among other things. The specific procedure and methods used to value the assets are set out in the Family Law Act.

Equalization of net family property involves adding up the total assets and liabilities that each spouse has accumulated during the marriage and deducting the liabilities from the assets to determine each spouse’s net family property. The spouse with the greater net family property then owes the other spouse an equalization payment. The calculation of the equalization payment is more than just arithmetic, and can be very complicated. There are certain deductions and exclusions which are provided for within the Family Law Act which must be considered that can significantly impact the final payment amount.

The Family Law Act does not provide for the same automatic property rights for unmarried spouses as it does for their married counterparts. However, this does not mean that unmarried spouses are without property rights at all and have no recourse. In some situations, unmarried spouses may be able to argue that they should share in the value of specific assets acquired throughout the relationship, such as a shared home or other asset to which both parties have contributed by making joint family venture claims or constructive trust claims. Making a joint family venture or constructive trust claim can be very complicated as the success of such claims depends on specific evidence as well as proper interpretation and application of the law. Because of the complexities inherent in both joint family venture claims and constructive trust claims, it is very important to seek advice from a qualified Toronto family law lawyer when making these claims.

At Kain and Ball Family Law Lawyers, we have the experience and knowledge to put your best case forward when it comes to making an equalization claim, a constructive trust claim, or a joint family venture claim. We have also helped many clients settle their property issues outside of court through negotiation and mediation.

Call us today at 1-855-773-4588, or email us at contact@kainfamilylaw.com to schedule your free initial consultation for more information about division of property.


Kain & Ball Family Law
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