The Family Property Act (FPA) is the Alberta law that may be used to classify and distribute property when a relationship ends. The FPA looks at the property that has been acquired by either spouse or jointly between spouses during the relationship and after separation. Family property includes debts and may be divided equally unless there are special circumstances which make an equal division unfair.
Each of the spouses must disclose his or her property. It is a good idea to speak with a family lawyer about your options for obtaining property disclosure if a spouse isn’t cooperating. Once disclosure is obtained each item of property should be listed in one of the following categories:
- Family Property
- Exempt Property
- Increase in value of exempt property
The FPA does provide that there is property to be exempt from division which include the following:
- Assets owned prior to the marriage
- Inherited assests
- Property that was received as a gift from a third party
- Personal Injury lawsuit
- Insurance proceeds
For exempt property to be considered such, there must be evidence that the property exists or can be traced to an asset that exists. When it is proven that a property is exempt, the property’s market value when the marriage started or when the asset was acquired will be exempt from division. If the value of the exempt property has increased during the marriage the increase in value may be divisible between the spouses.
You need a lawyer who is able to take the time to listen to your situation and goals. At Taylor Wray LLP we are available to answer questions and reply to emails quickly. We communicate in plain english as we find that speaking in complicated legal jargon isn’t beneficial for anyone in an already stressful situation.