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Considering property division in advance of divorce

There are a number of factors that must be considered when a couple chooses to end their marriage. Primary among these for British Columbia residents is often property division, since assets and debts must be split up between the couple when the divorce is finalized. This is particularly true of a marital home, which many people believe must be sold as part of the divorce settlement. 

This is, however, not always true. In the last few years, the amount of equity that could be accessed in a home sat at 95 percent, but more recently that limit has been dropped to 80 percent. At that point, it became possible for a spouse to purchase the property from the other spouse for up to 95 percent of the home's existing value. This is referred to as the spousal buyout program. 

This program allows the property to be refinanced by a single partner, though in order for this to happen, both parties must be on the title. They must also be in the process of separating, with a decision made that one individual will be keeping the home. A down payment is created from existing equity, and any existing mortgage is paid down with the new mortgage. 

Obviously this is a complicated process, as most British Columbia residents would agree. This is why when it comes to property division, it is so important for both spouses to seek out experienced attorneys to help walk them through this process. When it is complete, it can help lead to a more equitable distribution of assets and debts, allowing both individuals to move forward in a more financially secure way. 

Source:, "Of Prime Interest: Mortgage advice for couples planning a divorce", Trish Balaberde, Nov. 25, 2016

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