dividing real estate during divorce

What Happens to Real Estate During a Divorce in Alberta?

While divorce rates are on the decline in Canada, many of us will still face the difficulties of ending a relationship. Getting divorced requires dividing assets, including real estate and mortgages. Deciding who is entitled to what assets can be more complicated than you thought.

It's important to seek legal counsel when going through a divorce in Alberta. The team at First West Law LLP in Calgary can help you navigate the legal process and the division of assets.

Read about how homeownership gets divided, along with different types of real estate here.


Divorce In Alberta: What You're Entitled To

In Canada, the law presumes an equal division of matrimonial property.

Matrimonial assets include real estate. The Family Property Act, once called the Matrimonial Property Act, states all marital property division must occur fairly. This usually results in property being divided in an equal manner between the spouses.

The assets included in the Matrimonial Property Act include:

  • All assets gained in the marriage
  • A legal title such as land, buildings, cash, and vehicles
  • Pensions earned during the marriage
  • Inheritance, gifts given to benefit both spouses
  • Joint use assets such as investments
  • Shares, sole proprietorships, RRSPs
  • Debts

Family Real Estate Division In Alberta

In Alberta, couples have the option to divide their assets how they see fit. But, each spouse must seek individual legal counsel to have their rights explained to them. All financial information must be disclosed to each party as well.

While couples have the right to divide their property as they see fit, most choose to split assets the same way a court would decide. To split up assets, the value of the property gets determined. The value is decided by how much the property is worth if sold today.

Real estate values in Alberta get determined professional appraisers. If you must sell your home to split the asset, deducting real estate fees from the value is fair.

The Court determines what is fair for dividing real estate assets. While Alberta Court cannot decide what happens to property owned outside of the province, they will factor that value into their decision.

Exempt Property In Divorce In Alberta

Some property meets the criteria for exemption from splitting assets. Exempt assets are traceable. This means it is still owned by one party and has not been used to acquire new assets or sold to pay off debt.

  • Property owned by one spouse before entering the marriage
  • Property gifted from a third party
  • Property inherited

Real estate owned by one party before the start of the relationship may still get divided, if the property is brought into the martial union. If the value of the real estate has increased since the start of the marriage, the increased value gets divided equally. Whatever the property was worth before the relationship started is exempt from division.

Get Property Legal Advice Today

At First West Law LLP, our team stands behind you to ensure your legal rights are protected while going through a divorce. The end of a relationship is one of the most stressful life events you'll go through. Our experienced divorce lawyers can assist you through every legal matter in the process.

For more information on divorce in Alberta, contact the family lawyers at First West Law LLP today!