Property / Financial
Property Division in Manitoba
The Family Property Act sets out the rules to divide property when you separate and/or divorce.
Under The Family Property Act in Manitoba, property that is used for family purposes, such as shelter, transportation and/or recreation, is considered a family asset.
Some examples are:
- The family home
- Household furniture
- The family vehicles
- The family vacation property
- Money in savings, chequing, or current accounts (where money is used for family purposes)
- Rights under life or accident and sickness policies or annuity policies
- Registered retirement savings plans (RRPS's)
Family property that is not a family asset is considered a commercial asset. Some examples are:
- Interest in a business such as a drugstore, construction company, etc.
- A life insurance policy or accident and sickness insurance policy taken out solely to provide compensation for loss to a business due to death or illness of the insured person
How does the Homesteads Act of Manitoba protect the family home?
One of the most important family assets is the family/matrimonial home. This is any property used as a family residence.
The Homesteads Act of Manitoba gives protection to the family home. When the home is owned by one spouse or common-law partner only, the other spouse or partner must consent in writing before the home can be sold.
If the owner spouse or common-law partner should die, the non-owning spouse is entitled to continue living in the family home for the rest of their life, even if the owner's will leaves the home to another party.
To qualify as common-law under The Homesteads Act of Manitoba, a couple must register their relationship with the Vital Statistics Agency or they must have cohabited in a conjugal relationship for at least three years.
If the spouses or common-law partners have been living apart for at least six months, or a court has declared the non-owning spouse/partner to be mentally disordered, the court may allow the transaction to take place without the consent of that spouse/partner. In this case, the court may also attach specific conditions to the transaction to protect the non-owning spouse/partner.
How to register a common-law relationship in Manitoba?
Every Manitoba law that includes a definition of common-law partner includes couples that have registered their relationship with the Vital Statistics Agency, no matter how long the couple has lived together. If the common-law relationship is not registered, it is important to look at the particular law in Manitoba to find out whether or not a couple qualifies as common-law partners under that law.
Registering a common-law relationship in Manitoba is completely voluntary. Common-law couples are not required to register. A common-law couple may be registered by completing and filing a simple form with the Vital Statistics Agency.