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Equalization and International Property

Today I will be speaking to you about how Ontario courts treat international property when it comes to equalization.

Hello. My name is Jeffrey Hart and I am a lawyer for the Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be speaking to you about how Ontario courts treat international property when it comes to equalization.

As a general rule, Canadian or provincial Courts do not have jurisdiction to determine title to or interest in property that is located in another country. As such, dealing with the sale of property located outside of Canada is something that should be brought before a judge in the country where the property is located.

What does this mean for separating spouses who are dealing with their equalization and other family law issues in Ontario courts, but own real estate outside of Ontario? While Ontario courts will not generally order the sale of, declare that a party has an interest in land outside of Canada, or make an order that affects the rights of either spouse in respect of the foreign property, they can order that the property be valued, and can then include its value in deciding the appropriate amount of equalization owed.

As the relationship existing between separating spouses is that of debtor–creditor, when a court makes an order for equalization, it becomes the responsibility of the separated spouse owing the equalization to make that payment, just as he or she would be obligated to make payment to any other creditor. Therefore, the fact that one spouse owns property outside of Canada is insufficient reason to disentitle the other spouse from having its value equalized.

Also, to ensure that any equalization Order made in Ontario is enforced in a foreign jurisdiction, I would urge the party entitled to an equalization payment to hire a lawyer in the other jurisdiction in order to obtain judgement in that jurisdiction based on the Ontario Order. Dealing with international real estate can be complex when it comes to the equalization of net family property. To learn more about division of property and equalization, please visit our website at www.separation.ca.

If you need advice on your own family law matter, please call us at 905-415-1636 to schedule a free initial consultation. We’re always happy to assist. Again, for Feldstein Family Law Group, I’m Jeffrey Hart. Thanks for watching.

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