Equal Sharing of Net Family Property

In order to successfully end a marriage there is need for debts and assets of the marriage to be divided between the marital parties. Upon separation or divorce each spouse is entitled to what is termed and equalization of net family property. The equalization will be carried out for any couple who go to the court for the division of property as opposed to spouses who decide to settle and share the marriage’s net family property between themselves privately for a simple divorce Ontario. Any spouse can apply for equalization from the court in accordance to the Ontario Family Law Act at any time after separation has begun.

Under the Family Law Act, Ontario’s property equalization scheme is called the deferred community of property regime. The deferred community of property regime basically means that when two people enter a marriage each spouse is automatically entitled to an equal share of the profits of that marriage. According to the Family Law Act inherent in the marital relationship each party to the marriage gives an equal contribution to the marriage and hence once the marriage is broken down and there is a divorce the Family Law Act provides that there ought to be an equal sharing of what the parties to the marriage put into the marriage. The Family Law Act seeks to provide for an equitable sharing between the parties to the marriage and this is done so as to compensate the spouses fairly for their equal contribution to the marriage for its duration. Therefore, the assets acquired during the spouse’s marriage are to be divided between the two parties to the marriage equally.

However, while the contribution to the marriage may have been equal there are some circumstances that may see one of the parties to a marriage actively work at depleting the contribution made by themselves as well as by their spouse. When such a circumstance arises this begs the question if both parties to the marriage are still entitled to an equal share of the profits of their marriage despite the actions of the spouse who worked at depleting such profits? The answer depends on the facts surrounding the circumstances that resulted in the depletion of the net family property value or profit. Some actions that have resulted in the court giving an unequal sharing of the net family property are discussed below:

  • Reckless investing – this is where a spouse may have been involved in deceit and various acts of financial misconduct designed to hide his or her reckless investments from the other spouse. For example, in respect of the stock market. Thus in order to make such investments a spouse goes so far as to forge the signature of the other spouse and use the other spouse’s credit cards without his or her knowledge. And further, actively works at trying to hide the family’s financial affairs from the other spouse and suffers capital loss as a result of the investments.
  • Spending to feed one’s addiction whether alcohol or drugs and thus results in the depletion of the profits of the family.

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