Asset Division Law
Vancouver's Experienced Asset Division Lawyer
There are many factors in asset division that can complicate the matter and change the usual 50% - 50% split. For some people a 50 – 50 split is easy, for others it is difficult due to the complicating factors.
The most common complicating factors are:
- 1 party has made a greater contribution or feels that they have made a greater contribution to the assets (either directly through finances or indirectly through other responsibilities of the marriage including child rearing).
- 1 party has depreciated the assets of the marriage (usually through an addiction such as gambling).
- The parents of the parties have made contribution to the assets(s) of the marriage.
- 1 party has a greater need for the assets.
Sometimes one party has worked harder to provide for the family, or the inverse, the other party hasn’t tried as hard as they should have. Or sometimes one party takes into the relationship assets that they owned prior to the relationship. The party feels as though they are owed something and that a 50% division is not fair to them.
Sometimes one party spends excessively or gambles away assets or in other way uses up assets of the marriage. The other party often feels as though the spending party has already spent their portion and should not share in the remainder of the assets.
One of the most difficult issues is when one or both parents of the parties contribute to the assets of the marriage. At the time of the contribution usually nothing is said about the exact nature of the contribution as it is inappropriate to do so, or the contribution was given at a honeymoon time for the relationship and now the parties no longer get along so the contribution is re-characterized. Sometimes the parties perceive the contribution differently.
The court often looks to the existence of factors to indicate what the contribution is or the court will look to the absence of factors to determine the nature of the gift. For example, if the parties and parents signed a loan agreement the contribution was probably a loan. If the parties were paying loan payments then the contribution was probably a loan. If the parties did none of the above and the contribution was made on the wedding day, and called a gift in a wedding day card, the contribution was probably a gift to both parties. In either case the court is trying to determine how much of the asset to pay back out to the contributors, and then divide the remainder if any.
If one party suffers a medical condition that makes them unlikely to be employed or if they sacrificed career advancement for the sake of the marriage (i.e. child rearing) they may be entitled to more of the assets, a factor the court will consider along with spousal maintenance.
With so many possibilities the outcomes of court are also limitless. Parties do not like to have a stranger (judge) tell them the way things are going to be as much as parties like to be the authors of their own fortunes. As a result mediation has become more popular. It is estimated that 90% of all cases now end in mediated settlement. The chances of reaching an agreement in mediation are so high that mediation is a mandatory 1st step in court cases now in the form of a Judicial Case Conference.