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We're married. Do we have to divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?

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We're married. Do we have to divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General

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We're married. Do we have to divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?
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Reviewed: 
July 15, 2019
Answer

The law says that married couples usually share the value of their property if they separate or divorce. This means that the partner who has more property usually pays money to the partner who has less property. Usually, the property itself is not physically divided.

This applies to married couples who last lived together regularly as a couple in Ontario. So if you were living together in another country or province, but then decided to separate after only one of you moved to Ontario, you should talk to a lawyer about your property rights.

This does not apply to common-law couples, who have different rights.

It also may not apply if you and your partner agreed to something else in a marriage contract, sometimes called a pre-nup or pre-nuptial agreement, or a cohabitation agreement.

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