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How do you divide assets when you’ve been separated for many years?

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How does a couple divide assets when we separated 9 years ago? We don’t want to take the issue to court.

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The straightforward answer is this:  You ideally do it together, with great patience and cooperation.

As you may know, under provincial family legislation your separation date usually (but not always) serves as your “valuation date”, which is the date you and your spouse formally separated with no reasonable prospect that you will resume cohabiting with each other.  That valuation date serves as the crystallization date for determining certain dollar-values for your assets, as well as your legal rights.

If you and your spouse have been separated for nearly a decade, then it will take a good deal of retroactive speculation on the value of your respective assets on that long-ago date.

In some cases, the value of your assets will not have changed over those 9 years, so the current-day value will approximate the value back then.  However, many assets will have either appreciated or depreciated significantly, and it will take a good deal of cooperation, reflection, and review of available records and receipts to try to determine those values.

Ideally you should sit down together and try to mutually agree on what is a reasonable value for each of your items, both then and now.  The actual division of property takes place using the determination of your Net Family Property values, using the figures that you have arrived at.  If you want to avoid going to court, you should each consult with an experienced Family Lawyer who may be able to help you reach a fair division of assets on a negotiated basis.

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