People who separate might take time to finally sort out the division of their property. If they go to court to resolve disputes, it can take several years.
In the meantime, people need access to money to pay for day-to-day living costs. They might also have extra costs because of the separation, like setting up a new home or paying for legal advice. If most of the property is in the name of one of the partners, it can be difficult for the other partner to access the money he or she needs.
The law allows a person to ask the court to make an interim division of some property. But few people do this. Going to court can be time-consuming and expensive.
Sometimes the court might struggle to identify what property it can divide before making a final judgment. The court must be sure it is dividing relationship property. It also needs to be sure that the property the partner asks for does not exceed what they are entitled to.
When a relationship ends, a partner can also go to court to ask the other partner to make payments called maintenance. Maintenance payments are to support the post-separation needs of a partner. Sometimes it is easier to seek maintenance than an interim distribution of property.
We want to know if it should be easier to get an interim division of some property. The law could do this in several ways. For instance, the court could order that one partner pays the other an initial lump sum payment. When one partner asks the court for an initial lump sum payment, the court would have to deal with the matter quickly.