Under the Marital Property Act, married spouses who separate or divorce are each entitled to an equal share of the marital property, and each spouse is responsible for an equal share of the marital debts, except in certain special circumstances.
Unlike married couples, common-law couples do not have an automatic right to an equal division of property. Determining the ownership of property and each spouse’s entitlement to property following the breakdown of a common-law relationship can be very complicated.
As a general rule, any property brought into a relationship by a common-law spouse belongs to that spouse. Property that was purchased together is presumed to be jointly owned. Property held in the sole name of one spouse is presumed to be the property of that spouse. However, if the other spouse can demonstrate that the property was purchased, developed, or maintained with his or her contribution of labour, time, or money, that spouse may be entitled to some of it. The amount the spouse can receive will depend on the extent of their contributions, which can include financial or non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and childcare.
The lawyers at Actus Law Droit are experienced in dealing with the division of property following the breakdown of marriage or common-law relationships and can help you resolve these issues through negotiation or litigation.