If you decide to separate or divorce, you have to go through a property division. In the property division, you and your lawyer will go through your joint assets and debts and divide them between you. This is often mentioned as your joint estate, which is what you own and owe together. For example, it can be everything from real estate, cars, accounts, companies and other things that you have acquired during your marriage or as common-law partners. A division of property ensures that your assets and debts are divided fairly.
How does a property division work?
1. Make an inventory of what you have
The first thing you need to do is list all of your assets and liabilities. This includes properties, bank accounts, shares, vehicles, companies and any debts.
2. Do you have any individual property?
When dividing property, it’s important to clarify what is individual property and what is matrimonial property. Individual property are the assets that you each own before getting married or moving in together. While matrimonial property are the assets you acquire together during your marriage. Normally, individual property is not included in the division of property.
3. Value your shared property
When you have taken inventory of what you jointly own and owe, you need to value your shared property. You can do this by hiring a valuer or by agreeing on a valuation between the two of you.
4. Decide on how to divide your property
When you have valued your joint estate, you have to decide how to divide your assets and liabilities between the two of you. Most of the time, everything is divided equally, but sometimes there are circumstances that can affect the divide so that it’s not exactly in half. How you choose to divide is up to you and the easiest way is for you to agree on this on your own. If you can’t agree, the court can determine how to divide your property.
5. Put it in writing
Finally, you need a property division agreement. The agreement is a written document where you go through the inventory, the valuation, how you want to divide everything and exceptions if any. By drawing up an agreement, you make sure to avoid any disputes in the future.