Married couples are entitled to a legislated property division regime, known as “Equalization”, which is set out in the Family Law Act. The equalization is when each spouse calculates their respective “net family property” by totalling the value of their debts, assets and liabilities for the duration of the marriage. This number is then subtracted from the total of their debts, assets and liabilities they acquired up to the date of separation. This process results in one spouse (with the higher net family property) owing the other spouse an equalization payment.
Common law spouses do not have an automatic right to equalization of net family property under the Family Law Act and would be determined case by case.