October 11, 2013

Selling Assets Of A Divorce In Alberta

When facing a divorce in Alberta the assets and debt that you share in a marriage are also known as ‘matrimonial property’. Assets within the relationship can include financial investments (RRSPs, stocks, etc.), vehicles (including their loans), properties (and their mortgages), pensions, and lines of credit. In a divorce the ideal is to have an equalization of these assets and debts between the two parties. The basic rule in this step of the divorce is to split the estate between the two parties, evenly.

Splitting an estate can be done by two approaches. The first is to purely liquidate the estate’s assets on the open market, splitting the cash proceeds post payment of outstanding debts (car loans, mortgages, liens, etc.). Alternatively, one party could simply buy out the other with a cash settlement for the agreed value of the asset, post payment of any outstanding debts against the asset.

Dealing With Splitting Pensions In A Divorce

During a divorce, access to a pension is a point of negotiation and requires a great deal of thought. It can be a complicated issue that you need to address with your family lawyer. Does the pension become split evenly between both spouses? Sometimes, but not always. In a basic scenario, the pension may pay both parties a cheque. However, there are instances where one party will retain the entire value of the pension, offset by the other party acquiring whole assets within the estate (property, vehicles, stock).

However, there are many variables that must be considered when addressing this area of asset division. Your divorce lawyer in Edmonton should be considering:

  • How close both parties are to retirement?
  • Was the pension created and paid into well before the marriage?
  • Was the recipient already committing this income to a previous divorce settlement?





Other Implications And Issues Within Dividing Assets

The largest concern when dividing or selling the assets of a divorce are tax implications. This can directly involve the division of RRSPs in a divorce, or receiving cash from the sale of a home. In the instance that one party has been paid out by the other, there are capital gains taxes that must be considered and weighed into the negotiation. The reporting of these gains are the sole responsibility of each party and your divorce lawyer should have these implications laid out for you.

There are also possible outcomes that result in one spouse living in the matrimonial home while still sharing ownership with the divorced spouse. In these matters, where the live-in spouse may die, who has rights to their share of the property?

There can also be questions about the purchase and ownership of assets that pre-date the marriage? Should these be equally considered in the division of assets?

Contact Our Divorce Lawyers In Edmonton

These are complex matters that should not be left to a boiler-plated approach in the divorce of an estate. They require a seasoned family lawyer in Edmonton who has a long and experienced record of carrying clients through the legal negotiation of a family divorce. If you are facing separation, or are moving toward the steps of initiating a divorce, and you have questions about your future security, contact our family law office in Edmonton and let Coley Hennessy Cassis Ewasko carry you through your options.