When a couple separates in Medicine Hat, one of the issues that they must deal with is how to divide the property they obtained while they were married. The legislation which governs the division of property for married people in Alberta is the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA).
The MPA sets out very particular rules about how to divide property between spouses who are separating in Alberta. There are three types of property recognized in the MPA:
As a general rule, the property acquired by a couple from the date they are married until the date they make a Property Agreement, or the date they have a trial, falls into the first category and is divided between the parties equally. This is the case regardless of whose name the property is purchased in, or who actually purchased the item.
The second category includes those items which are not divided. A summary of those items is as follows:
Items which fall in these categories are not divided between the spouses, unless they are put into an asset which is held in joint names. The Alberta Court of Appeal has decided that these exempt items then lose some of their exemption. That is, a portion of the asset is then divided, and a portion remains exempt.
The third category includes those items that the Court would divide in a way that it considers fair. In deciding how to divide those items, the Court considers a number of things:
The property in this last category is the most difficult to divide. There are many cases which have been decided by the Alberta Courts which talk about how to divide this property. In order to get a good idea of how these things are considered, it is important to speak to a lawyer and get advice about how these things apply to your particular situation.