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  • My Legal Briefcase

    My husband and I are separating after six years. We both do not want to go though a lawyer but want everything to be legal. Our house is under my name. I understand that even though my husband is not the registered owner we need to divide the equity 50/50. Therefore, I am going to buy out his interest and give him half of the net equity. We plan to sign separation papers and file them with the local court ourselves, but we want everything to be legal. What are the appropriate procedures?
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    The law and procedures are so complex that you both need lawyers (independent
    legal advice) for such an agreement to be "legal" or legally enforceable. Anyone suggesting
    otherwise is mistaken. Moreover, asking me to give you "shortcuts" is no different then asking
    a surgeon to instruct a patient with a gallbladder stone on how to use a surgical knife after
    pointing out a few diagrams of the lower belly. For instance, some of the many issues a
    competent family law lawyer will resolve include the following. 1. Is there other property and
    debts on the date of marriage and on the date of separation? If so, and your husband has much
    more than you do, meaning a greater net worth over the course of the marriage, then maybe the
    split on the house equity is only 50:50 after all. For instance, he might have RRSP's that, after
    taxes, could be worth a great deal more than yours as of the date of separation. If so then the
    difference in value between the two will affect the split of the house equity. Or perhaps he has
    a private pension plan whose current value needs to be inexpensively valuated by a pension
    actuary? Or he might own a yacht in Fiji? 2. If you buy out his interest in the home and he has
    cosigned on the mortgage then he will want the Bank to release him from any continuing
    obligation. At the very least he will want a written indemnity from you to indemnity him form
    any lawsuit from the bank if you can't or don't pay as the bank loan becomes due. 3. These
    agreements are not filed with the court unless one of you receives child or spousal support and
    wants the payments to go through the Family Responsibility Office. 4. To be legal, you also
    need to formally exchange current income, asset and liability statements about each other in
    writing and evidence that its been done.

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