Family Property Act Alberta: Understanding Marital/Family Assets Division and Legal Implications

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Explore the intricacies of the Family Property Act in Alberta with Driessen De Rudder. Our guide covers your rights and obligations in family law matters.

Overview of the Family Property Act

The Family Property Act of Alberta is a crucial piece of legislation that governs the distribution of property among separating spouses and “common law” spouses or individuals in an adult interdependent relationship. As experienced legal advisors in Barrhead, we at Driessen De Rudder Law Office understand the intricacies of this Act, providing our clients with the attentive guidance they deserve.

Under the Family Property Act, a common law spouse is legally recognized as an adult interdependent partner (AIP), highlighting the modern recognition of diverse relationship forms. This Act offers a framework for resolving property disputes in a fair and equitable manner, respecting the contributions of both spouses and common law spouses during their time together.

Here in Alberta, the court considers various factors such as the length of the relationship, any pre-existing adult interdependent partner agreements, and contributions to the already-owned family home. Exclusive possession of the family home may be granted, ensuring stability for the spouses and common law spouse in need, post-separation.

Our approach at Driessen De Rudder is rooted in a profound understanding of our client’s needs. We adeptly handle negotiations related to family law trying to avoid civil litigation—a reflection of our supportive and results-oriented goals. We are well-versed in the elements of the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, which is essential for constructing or dissolving AIP agreements, which are akin to prenuptial agreements.

It is pivotal for individuals to grasp the relevance of the Family Property Act in shaping their futures post-relationship. We ensure our clients are well-informed and confidently prepared to navigate these legal pathways, reinforcing our role as a trusted ally in family law.

What Is the Family Property Act

In our practice at Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we frequently guide our clients through the intricacies of the Family Property Act of Alberta. This legislation is pivotal in the distribution of assets when spouses or adult interdependent partners end their relationships.

The Family Property Act sets clear rules for the division of property upon the dissolution of a marriage or an adult interdependent relationship. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Historical Context: The Act reflects the changing nature of relationships and provides equitable treatment to unmarried partners in a relationship of interdependence.
  • Key Provisions: It delineates what property is subject to division and the factors that determine how it’s divided.
  • Division: Assets and debts acquired during the relationship are shared equitably upon separation.
  • Rights and Obligations: Both parties have rights to property division and certain responsibilities under the Act.
  • Common-Law Relationships: The term “adult interdependent partner” includes individuals in a common-law relationship, extending the property division aspects of the Act to those not formally married.

At our firm, we recognize the significance of this legislation for our clients in Barrhead and the surrounding areas in determining the division of shared assets acquired during a marriage or an interdependent partnership. Through our legal counsel, we strive to safeguard your interests and achieve the most favourable outcomes during these pivotal moments. Trust us to provide professional guidance and advocacy tailored to your unique circumstances.

Division of Assets

When marriages or adult interdependent relationships come to an end, the division of property and assets becomes a key concern. At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we provide guidance under Alberta’s Family Property Act to facilitate a fair and equitable distribution of property. Our aim is to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected throughout this process, securing a division that reflects their interests and entitlements.

Equitable Distribution Approach

In Alberta, marriages or adult interdependent relationships property division is based on an equitable distribution approach. Our role involves helping both spouses or adult interdependent partners navigate the division of their shared assets upon a relationship’s dissolution. This involves the necessary negotiations to achieving a family property order from the court, including possible exclusive possession of the family home.

Exemptions and Special Considerations

Certain assets, such as inheritances or specific personal gifts, may be exempt from division. At our firm, we clearly explain these principles, ensuring that our clients fully comprehend which of their assets may be safeguarded.

Ending a Relationship

When a marriage or an adult interdependent partnership ends, the court may order not just the division of property but also the payment of support. It is crucial to approach these matters with a clear understanding of each partner’s entitlements, considering the length of the relationship and the nature of each partner’s contributions, financial or otherwise to the relationship.

Avoiding Litigation

In alignment with our emphasis on providing professional and compassionate legal services, we seek to avoid contentious court battles. Instead, we focus on facilitating amicable agreements that protect our clients’ interests without the need for litigation.


Common Misconceptions and Challenges


When navigating the complexities of the Family Property Act in Alberta, many individuals are prone to misconceptions concerning the relationship of interdependence, the division of assets, and the entitlements of unmarried couples.


  • Romantic Relationships: Not all interdependent partnerships are romantic. An adult interdependent relationship can apply to both platonic and romantic bonds, provided certain conditions are met.
  • Ownership of the Family Home: Ownership in one’s sole name does not mean that the opposing party has no claim to it.
  • Unmarried Couples: Some think that only married individuals have rights to asset division – unmarried partners may also have entitlements similar to those who are married.


  • Division of Assets: The equitable division involves more than just physical property; it includes debts and damages in tort. This can be complicated, requiring careful legal analysis.
  • Insurance Policies: Determining how to handle insurance policies in relation to the division of family property can pose a significant challenge.

At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we provide clarity and unwavering support during challenging times. Our mission is to fully represent our clients’ interests, whether it entails clarifying asset division complexities or elucidating the ramifications of a cohabitation agreement. 

Driven by our commitment to the community, we offer precise, empathetic guidance and independent legal advice to families throughout Barrhead and its surrounding areas. These efforts reflect our core values of professionalism, compassion, and a results-driven approach to legal representation.

Navigating Family Property Cases with Driessen De Rudder

At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we have years of experience guiding clients through relationship breakdowns in Alberta. We understand that navigating the division of property in the event of a relationship breakdown can be complex, especially for adult interdependent partners. Our approach prioritizes our client’s well-being and aims to achieve an outcome that serves your financial needs without the stress of a legal contest.

We thoroughly assess each case to determine the best course of action, whether that involves property division agreements, evaluating pension benefits, or considering the unique aspects of same-sex or opposite-sex partnerships. Below is how our team can support you:

  • Initial Consultation and Case Assessment: We offer a comprehensive initial consultation to understand your specific circumstances, including any legal doctrines, such as unjust enrichment, that may apply to your case.
  • Legal Representation and Advocacy: Our experienced lawyers possess a profound understanding of the Family Law Act and will provide robust representation and advocacy throughout your property division process.
  • Drafting Formal Agreements: From prenuptial agreements to separation agreements, we ensure the enforceability of all legal documents, recognizing the complexities of non-marital relationships.

At our law office, we are not just legal practitioners; we are your neighbours in Barrhead, attuned to the needs of our local community. Should you need any legal advice or assistance with family property disputes, contact Driessen De Rudder. Let us take care of the legal details while you focus on moving forward.

Driessen De Rudder
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5017-50 Avenue, Box 4220,
Barrhead, AB T7N 1A2

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Driessen De Rudder Law Office is a full-service law firm serving Barrhead, Alberta and surrounding towns.