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Planning for property division ahead of divorce

As a general rule, couples do not get married with the intention of getting divorced at a later time. But for many British Columbia residents, the prospect of a late-life divorce is a more real possibility today than it has ever been. Given that divorce is almost always accompanied by property division, it is important for individuals, particularly women, to have a solid handle on their finances as they relate to retirement. 

A study in the United States suggests that many working-age couples have not effectively planned for their retirement, with some accruing as little as $5,000 towards that goal. Couples approaching retirement age today were often married at a time when women more typically chose to leave the work force in order to raise families. This means that in the case of a divorce, many women over 60 find themselves staying in or re-entering the work force because they cannot afford to retire. 

The financial implications of a divorce can be far-reaching. The tax implications can potentially cost both spouses a considerable amount of money. It can be valuable for both parties to consider steps to take prior to finalizing the divorce in order to limit the amount of money lost to taxes, such as selling off real estate assets in advance of the divorce to maximize both parties' financial security moving forward. 

As a result, divorcing couples could face serious problems when property division means dividing what suddenly appears to be a relatively small nest egg. A good first step for British Columbia residents planning to divorce is to fully understand their current financial situation and determine how it will affect their futures as single individuals. Seeking the support of an experienced divorce attorney can help to get a better picture about how a divorce will affect both individuals' quality of living in the years to come. 

Source:, "Money lessons from a divorce: How to be smarter with your finances", Alessandra Malito, Feb. 9, 2017

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