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Tax-Free Savings Accounts
Not all divorces or separations qualify for TFSA equalization.
Spouses in Ontario can carry debt and own property on their behalf. When you marry someone who already has assets, including TFSAs, you do not automatically become a co-owner of the asset. Property ownership is transferred to the spouse. If your partner had a TFSA prior to marriage, the date of marriage would be pushed back. It can also have an impact on the value of their net family assets.
A net family asset is a measure of how far marriage has progressed. It starts on the day of the wedding and ends on the day of the divorce.
The assets of a spouse, regardless of which partner’s name is listed as the account owner, are considered matrimonial assets that must be equalized or divided. It is important to remember that not all divorces or separations result in the equalization or division of these assets. Both parties could agree to exchange debts or assets of equal value in exchange for any equalization owed. Otherwise, the two partners could reach an agreement in which nothing is divided at all. If you owned the assets, this decision would not affect them. Whatever the spouse agrees to do with the assets, these decisions should be based on a complete set of facts.