Once you and your ex make the decision to divorce, it triggers a legislated regime of asset division. Under those laws, the process starts by looking at what each of you own at two points in time: 1) the date you got married; and 2) the date you and your ex separated.
Essentially, the law requires that you take a “snapshot” of your respective holdings on both of these dates. The items that must be included – and that will potentially be divided – include:
- Bank accounts and savings
- Investments and business interests
- Real property (including the matrimonial home, as well as other real estate)
- Other physical assets (such as vehicles, furniture, art, and jewelry)
- RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs
There are special rules relating to items such as gifts and inheritances. Also, to offset the division of these assorted assets, you are both required to tally up your respective debts and liabilities as well; these are also split according to certain legislated principles and rules.
Finally, if your matrimonial property includes foreign-held assets (such as land or other property), the matter becomes a bit more complicated, but in many circumstances, a Canadian Court will be able exercise authority to consider and deal with those assets as part of your divorce, even if these items are physically situated elsewhere.