DIVISION OF PROPERTY
The law looks upon a spousal relationship as a financial partnership. When a marriage ends, the law assumes equal contribution of each person to the marriage. According to the law, the value of any kind of property that was acquired by a spouse during the marriage, and still exists at separation, must be divided equally between the spouses. Any increase in the value of the property owned by a spouse at the date of marriage, must also be shared. The payment that may be owed by one of the spouses to the other to make sure that both spouses equally share the value of their assets is called an “equalization payment”.
Anything the spouses own is subject to equalization. That includes real estate property, savings, investments, RRSPs, pension plans, cars, boats and machinery, business interests, valuables such as jewellery, art and antiques, and even air miles.
There are some exceptions to this rule, which might include gifts or inheritances received during the marriage from someone other than a spouse, provided that the gifts or inheritances were not used toward a matrimonial home.
These automatic property sharing provisions apply only to married couples. If you are ending a common law relationship you may be entitled to a payment from your spouse to pay you back for a direct or indirect contribution to property that he or she owns. These claims are referred to as “unjust enrichment claims” or “trust claims”.