4. Calculate the equalization payment

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Family Law - Property and debts ‑ married couples
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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We're married. How do we divide our property and debts if we separate or divorce?
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4. Calculate the equalization payment

The married partner with the higher net family property (NFP) owes the other partner half of the difference between the NFPs. This is the equalization payment.


Married partner A's NFP = $80,000

Married partner B's NFP = $30,000

Married partner A's NFP - Married partner B's NFP = $50,000

$50,000 divided in half = $25,000

Equalization Payment: Married partner A pays $25,000 to Married partner B

You can use Form 13B: Net Family Property Statement to compare your NFP and your partner's NFP. This makes it easier to calculate the equalization payment. Form 13B uses the information from your Form 13.1: Financial Statement (Property and Support Claims).

Dividing property unequally

Sometimes married partners divide property unequally. This is called an "unequal division of net family property".

Courts rarely make an order to divide property unequally. You have to show the judge why an equal division of net family properties is "unconscionable". This means that dividing property equally is more than just unfair, it must "shock the conscience of the court". This is difficult to prove in court.

Here are some examples of when this might happen:

  • One partner doesn't tell the other partner about debts they had on the date of marriage.
  • One partner has debts that were incurred recklessly or in bad faith. For example, this may be debts from secret gambling.
  • The amount of the equalization payment is large and the marriage lasted for less than five years.
  • Both partners agreed on how to divide property but didn't sign a domestic contract. For example, both partners exchanged emails that showed how they agreed to divide property but never officially signed an agreement.

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Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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