Hi, my name is Andrew Morrison and I am an associate here at Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be briefly discussing the issue of the division of property upon separation. This discussion will focus on the definition of the matrimonial home as it applies to cottages. As this discussion pertains to the division of property under the Family Law Act, please note that this discussion is limited to married spouses.
The matrimonial home is defined in section 18 of the Family Law Act as every property in which a person has an interest and that is or, if the spouses have already separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence.
When reading or hearing this definition for the first time, many people believe that only one home may be classified as their matrimonial home as they, in their opinion, only reside at one home “ordinarily”. However, this is not the case. In fact, more than one home can qualify as the matrimonial home and, in many cases, this second home is the parties’ cottage.
In simple terms, if the parties have a cottage that is regularly used as a family, and it was being used at the time of separation, the cottage may be defined as a matrimonial home under the Family Law Act.
However, this discussion in relation to matrimonial homes only relates to properties that are located in Ontario. As such, if the parties have a cottage located in Quebec, for example, the parties will have an extremely difficult time classifying the home as their matrimonial home.
It is important to consult a lawyer when separating in order to determine your legal rights and obligations, especially with respect to the issue of property as the matrimonial home is treated uniquely under Ontario’s Family Law Act.
For more information regarding the issue of property division and the unique treatment of the matrimonial home, please feel free to visit our website at www.separation.ca or call us at 905-415-1636 to schedule a consultation.