The moment you got married in community of property, that very moment, in the eyes of the law, you ceased to have an estate of your own. Everything that you owned, all your debt at that point and everything that your husband owned and all his debt at that point became part of your joint estate - in other words you were in it 50/50 - undivided.
It does not matter how big his estate was before you got married, the moment you got married, you became owner of 50% of everything he owned. If that was not what he wanted, or intended to happen, he should have signed an ante-nuptial contract before marrying.
In terms of the Divorce Act, a spouse to a marriage could claim forfeiture of the benefits of the marriage (this means your husband can claim that you must forfeit any benefit from the marriage ie. your claim to 50% of the assets) , and the Court will then consider the following:
- Duration of marriage;
- The circumstances which gave rise to the breakdown
- The substantial misconduct on the part of the other spouse
This however, is something that he has to specifically claim and he will have to give reasons why he will be entitled to such relief and he will have to prove such a claim.
You do not have an automatic right to spousal maintenance, but it is something that you can claim. Once again, this is a claim you have to prove. You will have to prove that you have a maintenance need, and that your husband has a responsibility to pay maintenance and that he has the ability to pay it.
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