For Better Or Worse: Dividing Debt During Divorce Or Separation

It is no secret that financial stress places significant strain on a relationship. Pursuing divorce or separation can be a cause of short-term financial stress until the issue of dividing family assets is resolved. In addition to dividing family assets like the marital home, bank accounts and investments, the law requires couples to divide family debt.

We know that one of the best ways to alleviate stress during the family law process is by education and proper planning. After reviewing your circumstances, we will outline all of your options and help you balance the weight of your legal issues with the costs of pursuing each resolution, tailoring our advice to your concerns and desired outcomes. Our goal is to ensure that you come out of the process on sound financial footing so you can move forward with confidence.

Dividing Debt Fairly

British Columbia's Family Law Act outlines the parameters for dividing family debt in fairly clear terms. Essentially, any debt brought into the relationship by either partner is divisible in divorce — regardless of whose name is actually on the paperwork. This includes:

The law seeks to ensure that one party does not end up carrying the entire financial burden of the family. So do we, but we also understand that each situation calls for a unique solution.

To that end, we will work with you to obtain a complete picture of your family's finances. If your spouse attempted to hide assets or racked up huge debts in an attempt to saddle you with crippling payments, we will diligently pursue resolutions that minimize your obligation to pay for those mistakes.

What If I Cannot Pay Back The Debts Right Away?

In rare circumstances, the Court may determine that dividing up debt 50/50 would place a "significantly unfair" burden on one spouse. Such cases require careful supervision and investigation, and there are no guarantees. Our Vancouver law firm has never been opposed to taking on difficult circumstances. We will do what we can to help you find an effective resolution that complies with the law and reflects the current state of your finances.

We're Looking Out For Your Best Interests

Dividing up debt, like dividing assets, can quickly overwhelm anyone who attempts to resolve matters on his or her own. Moreover, you could end up agreeing to take on more than is required of you by law. Therefore, discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer at Westside Family Law by calling 604-800-8853 today. We work hard to ensure that "what's fair" actually is fair.