Understanding Property Division in British Columbia Divorces

property division

Divorce is an elaborate and emotionally charged procedure, with property division being a commonly debated aspect. In British Columbia, property is divided according to the rules set out in the Family Law Act, which provides a framework for determining how assets and debts are divided between spouses. 

To ensure a just and equal distribution of assets, it is crucial to comprehend and abide by these regulations. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is Property Division?

Property division refers to the process of dividing assets and debts between spouses upon separation or divorce. This includes everything from the family home to bank accounts, investments, pensions, and even personal belongings. 

Making sure that each spouse obtains a fair part of the marital property is the aim of property division.

Property division is governed by the Family Law Act, which sets out a number of rules for dividing property. These rules apply to married couples who are separating or divorcing, as well as to common-law couples who have been living together for at least two years.

Equal Division of Property

The default rule for property division is equal division. This means that all property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equally between the spouses. 

The only exceptions to this law are assets that one spouse possessed before marriage, assets that one spouse inherited or received as a gift during the marriage, and specific types of assets, such as settlements from personal injury claims.

It’s crucial to understand that an equal split of assets does not necessarily mean that each spouse will get exactly half of everything. 

Instead, each spouse is entitled to a fair share of the property based on a number of factors, including the length of the marriage, the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition and maintenance of the property, and the needs of each spouse.

Excluded Property

As mentioned above, there are certain types of property that are excluded from equal division. This includes property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage, property that was inherited or gifted to one spouse during the marriage, and certain types of property, such as personal injury settlements.

In order for a property to be excluded, it must be clearly identified as such. This means that if one spouse owned a house before the marriage, they would need to show that the house was kept separate from marital property throughout the marriage in order for it to be excluded.

Debts and Liabilities

In addition to property, debts and liabilities must also be divided between spouses upon separation or divorce. This covers all kinds of debt, including credit card debt, mortgages, auto loans, and other kinds of debt.

Debts and liabilities are generally divided equally between spouses unless one spouse can show that they should not be responsible for a particular debt. 

For example, if one spouse incurred a large amount of credit card debt without the other spouse’s knowledge or consent, the court may order that spouse to be solely responsible for that debt.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is the term for payments made by one spouse to the other to provide for their financial well-being following a separation or divorce. 

In British Columbia, spousal support is governed by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which provide a framework for determining when spousal support should be paid, how much should be paid, and for how long.

Child Support

Child support is the payments made by one parent to the other to help support their children financially after separation or divorce. 

It’s governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which provide a framework for determining how much child support should be paid based on each parent’s income, the number of children, and other factors. 

It is important to ensure that child support is paid in order to provide for the needs of the children after separation or divorce.


Property division can be a complex and emotional issue in divorce, but it is important to understand the rules governing property division in British Columbia in order to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets and debts. 

By knowing these rules, divorcing spouses can work toward a resolution that is fair and reasonable for both parties.

If you’re going through a divorce or separation and need legal assistance with asset division in Langley, look no further than Dreyer and Associates. Our team is dedicated to ensuring the best interests of families across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland. 

With extensive expertise in family law, wills and estates, and residential conveyancing, we are equipped to handle any legal matter related to asset division. Contact us today to learn more!





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