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Frequently Asked Questions on Divorce

Financial Issues

How can I Find Out about My Spouse' Assets?

Complete financial disclosure is a basis of any separation/divorce settlement. Each party is obliged to provide complete financial disclosure with proof of all assets and debts that they had at the time of marriage and at the date of separation (valuation date). A Court can compel a spouse to make the necessary financial disclosure if they refuse. There are legal consequences if a party fails to produce the required financial disclosure.

Settlements can be set aside if it is subsequently found out that a party has not disclosed his or her assets.

Sometimes it will be necessary to retain an investigator to help to discover assets of the other party.


Can I Stop my Spouse from Depleting Assets?

Pursuant to "Section 40 of the Family Law Act a court on application may make a temporary or final order restraining the depletion of the spouse's property that would impair or defeat a claim under Part III of the Act."

These orders are used to protect the spouse by preventing the other spouse from depleting his or her property.


What Articles and Property are Mine When We Separate?

If you owned articles of furniture, cars, appliances, etc. prior to the marriage and brought these items into the marriage, then they will remain your property on separation. You will also be credited with any money that you brought into the marriage providing you can prove it.

If you owned a house prior to the marriage and after the marriage you moved into the house it would become a matrimonial home and a family asset. To protect property that you own prior to the marriage you should have a marriage contract executed before the marriage which would exclude the house and other listed property from becoming family property.

Inheritances received before or after the marriage can be kept as separate property provided that the money is kept in a separate account and not used to pay joint debts.


Can I Change My Will If I Separate?

A Will continues to be valid after separation until it is changed. It is desirable to review your Will after separation and review the beneficiaries. Ask yourself if you still want your spouse to be a beneficiary under your Will?

If the answer is "No", then you should change your Will, failing which your wishes expressed in your Last Will and Testament will be honoured and enforced.


Should I Change My Life Insurance Policies?

You should also review your beneficiaries under your life insurance policies. Providing you do not have to pay spousal support, or child support, you should consider removing your spouse as beneficiary.

If there is an obligation to pay spousal support or child support you may be required to maintain the spouse or the children as a beneficiary for as long as the spousal support or child support continues.


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