When a marriage ends in Canada, the law respects the equal contribution of each person to that marriage. This means that any assets gathered by the spouses during the marriage will be split equally. If you’ve bought artwork, furniture, invested in property or made other purchases together, it’s likely that those items will need to be split during your divorce.
If you own a property together, then any increase in the property’s value will also be shared if or when it is sold. For instance, if you buy a home worth $100,000 that increases in value to $150,000, you should share the profits equally.
You may want to keep a home for yourself, and in that case, a payment can be paid to the other spouse. That payment is called an equalization payment. There are, of course, some items that will not be divided between spouses. For example, if you received a gift or inheritance during marriage, you may not have to split it with your spouse if it wasn’t used toward your shared life at home.
These same rules don’t apply to common law marriages. In those, you aren’t entitled to an equalization payment, but you could be able to get compensated for money you’ve given to your spouse over the course of the marriage. For instance, if you paid for some of your spouse’s student loans, you may be able to get that money back during a separation.
Our website has more information on property division, so you can make an educated decision about the property you own and how it should be divided in divorce.