Property division is a division of assets but it is also a division of all the assets and debts of both spouses: not just the assets. Each person's net worth has to be determined (that person's assets minus their debts), and their spouse's net worth must also be determined (their assets less their debts). Then the final calculation is done to determine what sum of money is owed from one spouse to the other. There are some exceptions to the division of all assets and debts that a married couple has. If you received an inheritance, that inheritance does not get divided with your spouse unless you put the money into the matrimonial home, for example, using it to pay down the mortgage. If you want to ensure that your inheritance does not get divided with your spouse in the event of a separation, talk to a lawyer.
Property division rights are much more complicated in a common law relationship. If you are the titled owner of property, you are entitled to a share of that asset, or possibly the whole asset if it is only registered in your name. For assets or debts that are not in your name, there is still an equitable or trust argument that can be made by a "spouse" who is not married. You need to seek out legal advice to determine your property rights in a non-marital situation.
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