Among the legal rights of individuals seeking a divorce is the right to an equal share of the family’s property. In family law, this is referred to as an “equalization” of “net family property” (NFP). Each partner’s NFP is calculated by subtracting his or her debts from his or her assets. Once the NFP is calculated for each spouse, the spouse with the lower NFP is entitled to one-half of the difference between the two amounts. However, the rights of common-law spouses differ from those of legally married spouses.
At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, our staff and lawyers regularly meet with clients who require help figuring out how to split their property upon divorce. In order to ensure that our clients receive their fair share of the family’s assets, we begin each case by facilitating the exchange of financial disclosure between the parties to determine how much each party is entitled to receive.
Exchanging detailed financial disclosure with your ex-spouse or their lawyer is extremely important, as it provides a framework for determining which of the family’s assets and debts should be split and which should not. The reason for this is that not all property will be subject to sharing between the spouses. For example, if one of the parties receives an inheritance, that money may or may not be excluded for that party’s “net family property,” depending on how the funds were treated. Therefore, there are ways to protect certain funds from being split between the couple upon separation and divorce. Once we determine the amount for equalization for your particular case, we help you negotiate how the property will be divided, according to your goals and interests.
For many couples, the home in which they lived throughout their marriage will be their most valuable asset. The law takes this into account, and provides for special treatment of the “matrimonial home.” Clients often wonder:
- Will I lose my right to the home if I move out?
- Can my former spouse kick me out of the house?
- Do I have any right to the home if my name is not on title?
If you are contemplating separation and would like to obtain answers to these or similar questions, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. At your consultation, you will meet with one of our lawyers, who practice exclusively in family law, and will receive information on your rights and obligations upon separation or divorce. If you have already separated from or divorced your former spouse, you should seek legal advice immediately, as the Family Law Act places limitations on the time that a former spouse has to make a claim for equalization.