COVID-19 Notice: During this time, we are serving our clients remotely. Please click here for more information and don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.
Hello, my name is Anna Troitschanski and I am a lawyer at Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I am going to talk to you about Property Division for married couples, which, in legal terms, is called Equalization of Net Family Property.
The first step in Equalization is to determine each party’s Net Family Property. In order to do so, spouses calculate the total of their respective assets as at the date of separation and subtract their total debt on the date of separation. The result is known as Net Family Property.
Next, one party’s Net Family Property is subtracted from the other’s in order to determine the difference between their respective Net Family Properties. The spouse with the higher Net Family Property pays the spouse with the lower net family property one half of the difference between the two figures.
If a spouse’s Net Family Property is negative, the figure becomes zero because parties cannot have a negative Net Family Property.
There are also exclusions and deductions that can be used to reduce a spouse’s Net Family Property. For example, any inheritance or gift from a third party during the marriage is an exclusion providing it can be traced up to the date of separation. Thus, if the inheritance has been spent then it is not excluded. Any property owned on the date of marriage is a deduction. The spouse claiming an exclusion or deduction must prove the exclusion or deduction that he or she claims.
The matrimonial home is given special treatment in Equalization. The matrimonial home cannot be excluded or deducted, even it is was a gift and even if it was owned by either spouse on the date of marriage providing it is still the matrimonial home on the date of separation.
It is also important to note that there is a time limitation on claiming Equalization. A claim for Equalization must be made within 6 years of the date of separation, within 2 years of a divorce, or within 6 months of the first spouse’s death, whichever occurs first. If a claim for Equalization is not made within these timelines, you or your spouse can be barred from ever claiming Equalization in future.
In sum, the law in Ontario governs how married couples should divide their property and this process is called Equalization of Net Family Property. The law in Ontario also sets timelines for making a claim for Equalization. If you do not make a claim for Equalization in time, you may not be able to do so at all.
If you would like to learn more about Equalization, you can visit our website If you would like legal advice about your own situation, please call us at (905) 581-7222 for a consultation.
Thank you for watching.