The Division of Property
In the eyes of the law, a marriage is a partnership. When a marriage ends, the partnership is over and property must be divided. In order to recognize the contribution of each person to the marriage, the general rule is that the value of any property acquired during the marriage, which still exits upon separation must be divided equally. Property that you brought with you into the marriage is yours, but any increase in the value of this property during your marriage must be shared.
There are, however, exceptions to these general rules. These exceptions are called excluded property. Excluded property includes, but is not limited to:
· gifts you received during your marriage from someone other than your spouse;
· property that you inherited during your marriage;
· money that you received from an insurance company as a result of the death of a third- party; and,
· money that you have or will have as a result of a personal injury claim.
Another form of excluded property is the matrimonial home. The law recognizes that when your marriage breaks down, the value of the matrimonial home must be shared even if one spouse owned the home before they were married, received it as a gift or inherited it.
It is possible for you and your spouse to come to an agreement which splits your property unevenly either by a marriage contract (often referred to as a “prenuptial”) or separation agreement, in which both you and your spouse need to agree to the unequal division either before or after your separation. The other alternative to securing an unequal division of property would be to request the court for permission to divide things differently. The court will grant unequal division of property in special circumstances in which an equal division of property would be particularly unfair.
DISCLAIMER: The blog sets out a variety of materials relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of the blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer before choosing to act on any information included in the blog.