COLUMN: What’s mine is yours – or is it?

While planning this article, I researched some famous “love” quotes. I came across these three which sadly have some truth to them:

Legal Ease by Karen McNeilly

While planning this article, I researched some famous “love” quotes.  I came across these three which sadly have some truth to them:

“There is love of course. And then there is life, its enemy.”

“The hottest love has the coldest end.”

“Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand.”

Most people enter a committed relationship with the hopes that it will last forever, and during the course of planning a wedding or moving in together, it feels like it will ruin the romance to discuss potential outcomes if the relationship doesn’t last. Not having that discussion, however, could leave you with far bigger problems than a broken heart, and potentially have you coming out of the relationship with much less than you entered into it with.

If you are lucky enough to bring major assets into a relationship (i.e. a house, RRSPs, pensions, vacation property) and the relationship ends, you will lose a portion of those assets formerly known as “your own.”

Current law states that all assets defined as “family assets,” whether brought into or acquired during the marriage, are to be divided equally among both parties at the end of a marriage.

If you are ending a common-law relationship, the division of assets is based on an entirely different set of laws. In this case, you would have to prove that you made a contribution to your partner’s assets either with money, labour, or other efforts in order to share in the division of them.

New legislation is being proposed which could dramatically change how property will be divided. This new legislation would apply to both married and unmarried couples equally.

The proposed legislation sets out that, for most cases, it is only the increase in the value of the assets during the relationship that would be divided equally with your partner. The value of the asset at the time the relationship began is excluded from division, and would be kept by the person who owned it before the marriage or cohabitation.

There are ways to protect yourself if you are bringing substantial assets into a relationship. Marriage agreements (formerly called prenuptial agreements) and cohabitation agreements are upheld by the courts provided the agreement treats both parties fairly.

As uncomfortable as it may be to discuss these issues prior to your marriage or cohabitation, it pales in comparison to the angst experienced by many who have not asked those questions. Your family lawyer can help you explore your options and explain your rights and obligations before you say “I do.”

Karen McNeilly is an associate with RDM Lawyers.

legalease@abbynews.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue brought a man to safety, and awaiting paramedics, after a 20-foot fall down an embankment on Jan. 23, 2020, on Harrison West Forest Service Road. (Kent Harrison Search and Rescue photo)
Rescue crew lifts man up 20-foot embankment near Harrison Lake

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue says this is the fifth call already this year

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read