Edmonton Property Division LawyersServing Alberta and Western Canada
When a marriage ends, emotions often run high.
This is especially true when children and significant assets and debts are involved. At Chadi & Company, our knowledgeable property division team has helped countless clients navigate this challenging process in Edmonton and throughout Alberta.
We understand the emotional challenges of divorce, but we also know that the process doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
With preparation, skilled legal counsel, and a cool head, all aspects of divorce—including property division—can occur swiftly, fairly, and in the most economical manner possible.
Matrimonial Property Law in Alberta
In Alberta, the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) governs the distributions of assets and debts at the end of a marriage. According to this law, most assets and debts will be equally distributed between both spouses. However, the type of assets and debts held will factor largely into this division.
Both spouses in a divorce must disclose their assets and debts to the court. Once this disclosure has been obtained, each item will be classified as matrimonial property, exempt property, or an increase in value of the exempt property.
Matrimonial property is any asset or debt that was acquired jointly during the marriage. This may include bank accounts, credit card debt, real estate, vehicles, investments, artwork, and even a jointly-owned business. Unless circumstances deem it unfair, the matrimonial property will be divided equally (50/50) between the divorcing spouses.
According to the MPA, certain types of property are exempt from this division. These include:
- Assets or debts that one spouse owned prior to the marriage;
- One spouse’s inheritance;
- Proceeds received in a personal injury lawsuit;
- Insurance proceeds; and
- Gifts received from a third party.
Generally speaking, if an asset is classified as exempt, it will be exempt from division in a divorce. However, if the value of that property has increased over the course of the marriage, that increase may be divided equitably between both parties.
Equitably does not mean equally; rather it takes into account other non-monetary factors to determine a fair and equitable distribution.
How Can A Lawyer Help?
Even if your separation is mutual and the relationship amicable, issues can arise during the divorce process, especially in relation to child custody and the division of assets and debts.
Having an experienced lawyer by your side is crucial to proactively deal with potential problems before they arise, and resolving inevitable issues in the quickest, most economical, and least painful way possible.
At Chadi & Company, our team of compassionate, highly skilled property division lawyers has extensive experience in all aspects of family law and a deep familiarity with the local courts and their procedures.
With over three decades of experience in matrimonial property law, the lawyers at Chadi & Company have successfully represented countless individuals and families in Edmonton and the surrounding areas, and throughout Alberta.
We will review your case, determine the best legal strategy for moving forward, and position you for the most favourable outcome possible.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you have questions about property division in divorce, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.
We have been guiding Alberta families through the complex processes of divorce and other family law matters since 1991. Our experienced staff offers premium legal services at an affordable rate, and we will remain your closest ally from start to finish.
Do not attempt to go through this challenging process without the help of a knowledgeable, compassionate lawyer by your side.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the house is your matrimonial home, meaning it was acquired during the marriage, then both spouses will be entitled to an equal distribution of the property in a divorce.
If you were the sole owner of the home prior to the marriage, it should be exempt from property division. However, any increase in value that occurred during the course of your marriage will be divided equitably, or fairly, between both spouses.
- Matrimonial assets, which were acquired during the marriage, are divided equally;
- Exempt assets, which include property acquired prior to the marriage, personal injury lawsuit proceeds, and certain gifts, are exempt from division; and
- An increase in value of the exempt property, which is the increased value of the exempt property that occurred during the course of the marriage, is divided equitably between both spouses.
Although there is no such thing as a common-law marriage in Alberta, the Family Law Act defines specific rights and obligations for people whose relationship is deemed “marriage-like.” In fact, a “spouse” in a common law marriage has the same rights and obligations as a spouse in a traditional marriage.
If you are considered to be a spouse, according to the Family Law Act, you have the same right as traditional spouses to an equal division of property at the end of your relationship. In order to qualify as a spouse under Alberta law, the relationship must have lasted at least two years.