In what circumstances will a husband and wife have equal division of assets in a long-term marriage?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from G.C.H. v. H.E.H., 2008 BCSC 1127 (CanLII):

In Murchie v. Murchie Lambert J.A., for the majority, indicated that in the case of a long marriage, the mere fact that one spouse brought an asset into the marriage would not make an equal division of the asset unfair. He said at para. 32: The husband had significant assets at the start of this marriage, including most particularly his dental practice and the associated management of that practice. As the trial judge said, he was at that time a person of means. In a comparatively short marriage of one or two years the fact that the asset was brought into the marriage by one of the spouses and not created by the joint efforts of the spouses would be a reason why equality of distribution of that asset in that marriage would be unfair. But parties marry in contemplation of each other's assets and by entering marriage they give up other opportunities of doing other things. In my opinion when two people in their forties marry and stay married for the length of time which the parties have stayed married in this case, it is not unfair that both spouses should share equally in the assets brought into the marriage by each of them.

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