Net Family Property/Equalization

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Family Law

  • Divorce & Separation
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Matrimonial Home
  • Net Family Property/Equalization
  • Custody & Access

Net Family Property/Equalization

Matters related to net family property may be governed by part I of the Family Law Act (FLA).  Part I of the FLA defines net family property and sets out the equalization scheme associated with the spouses’ net family property.

Section 4(1) defines net family property as the value of all the property, except property described in subsection (2), that a spouse owns on the valuation date, after deducting, 

(a) the spouse’s debts and other liabilities, and

(b) the value of property, other than a matrimonial home, that the spouse owned on the date of the marriage, after deducting the spouse’s debts and other liabilities, other than debts or liabilities related directly to the acquisition or significant improvement of a matrimonial home, calculated as of the date of the marriage; 

With respect to the equalization scheme set out in the FLA, section 5(1) of the FLA states: 

When a divorce is granted or a marriage is declared a nullity, or when the spouses are separated and there is no reasonable prospect that they will resume cohabitation, the spouse whose net family property is the lesser of the two net family properties is entitled to one-half the difference between them.

The purpose of the net family property equalization scheme is found in part I of the FLA at section 5(7).  Section 5(7) states:

The purpose of this section is to recognize that child care, household management and financial provision are the joint responsibilities of the spouses and that inherent in the marital relationship there is equal contribution, whether financial or otherwise, by the spouses to the assumption of these responsibilities, entitling each spouse to the equalization of the net family properties, subject only to the equitable considerations set out in subsection (6).

If you have questions or concerns regarding the net family property scheme set out in the FLA, contact our office to discuss your options.