Importance of Property Agreements for Common Law Partners in Alberta

Importance of Property Agreements for Common Law Partners in Alberta

When it comes to property rights and distribution, many people are aware of the laws that apply to married couples. However, for common law partners in Alberta, know the law. It is crucial for individuals in common law relationships to understand the importance of having agreements in place regarding property and its distribution. This blog post will highlight the significance of such agreements and the potential implications of not having them.

The Family Property Act in Alberta:

The Family Property Act, in effect in Alberta, addresses property division for common law partners. Under this act, the court has the authority to make a distribution of property between the spouses or adult interdependent partners based on the following factors:

Exempted Property: Certain types of property, such as gifts, inheritances, and property acquired before the relationship began, may be exempt from distribution.

Valuation Date: The value of the property to be distributed is determined as of the trial date, unless a written agreement states otherwise.

Just and Equitable Distribution: The court considers various factors, as outlined in section 8 of the act, to determine a fair and equitable distribution of property.

Income and Acquired Property: Property acquired by a spouse or adult interdependent partner during the relationship, including income derived from the original property, may be subject to distribution.

Importance of Agreements:

Having clear agreements in place regarding property rights and distribution is crucial for common law partners in Alberta. Here's why:

Protection of Individual Interests: A written agreement allows partners to define and protect their individual property interests. It can outline which properties are individually owned and which are jointly owned, reducing potential disputes in the future.

Control over Distribution: With an agreement, partners have control over how their property will be distributed in the event of separation. They can specify the division of assets and debts, ensuring a fair and mutually agreed-upon outcome.

Avoiding Legal Complexities: Without a written agreement, the court will rely on common law principles to determine property division. This can lead to complex legal proceedings and uncertainties about the outcome, potentially causing stress and financial burden.

Addressing Contributions: Agreements can address the contributions made by each partner during the relationship, whether financial or non-financial. This ensures that contributions are considered when distributing property, minimizing potential unfairness.

Clarity and Peace of Mind: By having a well-drafted agreement in place, common law partners can have peace of mind, knowing that their property rights are protected and that they have a clear plan in case of separation.

Common law partners in Alberta should understand the significance of having agreements in place regarding property and its distribution. The Family Property Act provides a framework for property division, but having a written agreement allows partners to define their own rules and protect their individual interests. Consultation with a family lawyer is recommended to ensure that agreements are properly drafted and legally binding. By taking proactive steps, common law partners can establish clarity, protect their rights, and avoid potential disputes in the future.

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