It’s Just Not Fair!
Posted on April 11th, 2016 by Centennial Law in Family Law
If you don’t believe that the word “fair” is meaningless, try being a lawyer for a year or two - especially in the area of family law. The vast majority of separating couples just want to be "fair." (On the other hand, there are a few who just want to punish!)
For many years, the rules for dividing matrimonial property tended to lead to a 50:50 split of the things the couple owned. In that scenario, it was not unusual for lawyers to hear their clients complain about the fact that "he/she had nothing when I married him/her! Why should he/she get half of what we own?" Then, in 2013, we switched to a regime which, to greatly oversimplify, now provides that each member of the couple takes away what he or she came into the relationship with and the couple then splits the increase in value – or, heaven forbid, the couple splits the new liabilities. Now, of course, the complaints are the mirror image of the old complaints: “I gave him/her the best 15 years of my life, why shouldn’t we split everything?”
One of the other problems which the new system has created is the problem of record-keeping. It is all very well to tell your lawyer that you brought $300,000 into the relationship - but the question is: can you prove it? We have probably all heard the common refrain that you should keep your records for 7 years. The reality is that there are some records which you should keep forever. You say that you had $300,000 in the bank in 1990. Prove it! You say that all the records were in a box in the basement and your ex has destroyed them. Bad luck!
So, when it comes to matrimonial property, the system changed significantly in 2013. Of course, there are still just as many people as there used to be who think it’s not fair.
Article written by Centennial Law Corp. (Douglas E. Dent)