We’re married. How do we divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?
1. List and value all your assets and debts
If you are dividing your property through an , the first step is to make a list of all your and all your .
Use financial statement forms
A is a court form that has details about your income, expenses, assets, and debts. It can help you and your partner list all your assets and debts. Then you can use it to help you divide those assets and debts.
You don't have to use the court's financial statement forms if you don't go to court. But many people find them helpful because the forms tell you the types of things that you need to list, and how to calculate your (NFP). They also have some instructions on what you shouldn't include in your NFP.
The court has 2 financial statement forms. If you want the court to divide your property, you must use Form 13.1: Financial Statement (Property and Support Claims). This form requires you to list all of your property, called “assets” on the form, and all of your debts.
Include the value of assets and debts
In Form 13.1 you must give the value of assets and debts on three different dates:
- The date of marriage: This date is important because the equalization payment considers what you already had when you got .
- The “valuation date”: This is usually the date you separated from your partner. It is important because the equalization payment is calculated by looking at the value of your assets and debts at the end of the relationship.
- Today: This date is important because sometimes the court also wants to know what has happened to assets or debts since you and your partner separated.
It is very important that you and your partner give complete and honest information to each other about your financial situation. This is called financial disclosure.
You should give copies of the documents that support the information in your financial statement. These could be things like:
- bank statements
- credit card statements
- mortgage documents
- line of credit statements
Your documents should be dated as close as possible to the date of marriage, the valuation date, and today's date.
The value of homes, cars, real estate, and businesses can be harder to determine.
You can hire a financial professional to determine the value of these assets if you and your partner can't agree. Or sometimes you and your partner may agree on a value after looking at how much similar assets are listed for. For example, you could look at car ads online or in newspapers to get an idea of how much your car is worth.
If you go to court, you have to give copies of these documents to your partner and complete a Form 13A: Certificate of Financial Disclosure. In Form 13A, you list all the documents that support your financial statement.