We’re married. What if we agree on what happens to our property and debts after we separate or divorce?

1. Agree on how to deal with your property and debts

You and your partner can try to agree on how to deal with your and without going to court. You can talk to your partner on your own, with the help of someone you both trust, or with the help of a lawyer or mediator.

As part of this process, you and your partner need to give each other complete and honest information about your financial situation. This is called financial disclosure.

You can use the equalization payment rules to help you decide how to deal with your property. Then you can put what you've agreed to in a . An is money one partner pays the other partner usually after they separate to divide the increase in the value of their property that happened while they were . Your assets and debts are considered when calculating the equalization payment. Usually, the property itself is not physically divided.

You don't have to follow equalization when . The law lets you and your partner divide your property the way you want to in a separation agreement. But most married partners use the equalization calculation as a guide, to see what the law says they can get, before deciding if they want to agree to divide their property differently.

You can make a separation agreement any time after you separate.

Some people divide property by applying the rules of a or a that was signed before they separated.

Some of the things you may want to think about including in your separation agreement are:

  • the amount of an equalization payment, if any
  • what assets and debts were considered in reaching an agreement
  • how to divide jointly owned assets
  • how to divide jointly owned debts
  • who stays in the

If you agree to an equalization payment, you also need to agree on how this amount is paid. For example, if you agree that you owe your partner $5,000, you might agree to pay this amount by cheque to your partner. Or, you might agree to sell your jointly owned home and divide the proceeds of sale so that your partner gets an extra $5,000 from your half. You might also be able to pay equalization from your pension.

If you or your partner decides to move out of the matrimonial home, you have to decide:

  • what day to move
  • what you can take with you
  • where to go
  • whether your children also move

Talking to your partner may not be the best option where there is a history of partner abuse.

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