The law recognizes that both spouses contribute to child care, household management and financial support. Generally speaking, each spouse is entitled to an equal share of their family property and an equal share of the family home. In some cases, however, a court can decide that unequal division is appropriate.
In dividing family property, the court will not consider a spouse’s improper or immoral conduct unless the conduct has financial consequences. For example, the court will always consider whether a spouse has been wasting family property, giving it away or selling it to avoid having it divided. They will also consider whether a spouse’s conduct has been substantially detrimental to the other spouse or the household, as is sometimes the case with conduct such as excessive gambling.
Division of Family Home
The family home is always divided equally unless it would be unfair and unjust to do so. In the case of a family home, the court will only consider it unfair if there are extraordinary circumstances or if it would be unfair to a spouse who has custody of the couple’s children.
Unequal Division of Other Family Property
The court can move away from an equal distribution of other family property if it is satisfied that an equal distribution would be unfair. In deciding if it would be unfair to divide family property equally, other than the family home, the court considers a number of factors, including:
- how long the spouses lived together and how long they have lived apart
- when the property was acquired
- any contribution made by someone else on behalf of a spouse to help buy, operate or use the property
- any contribution one spouse made to the career path of the other spouse
- the effect that domestic responsibilities have had on the earning capacity of each spouse
- gifts, or transfers for less than fair value, from a spouse to a third party
- previous distributions between spouses, whether by gift, agreement or court order
- tax liabilities if the property must be sold
- whether a spouse has wasted, given away or sold property to avoid having it divided
- the amount of any child support payments
- any interest that another person has in the property
- debts of the spouses
- the value of any family property outside of Saskatchewan
- any other relevant circumstances