My name is Deleta Grandy, with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Today I am going to talk to you about an issue which is central to many family law disputes: the matrimonial home.
Under the Family Law Act, which is the Act that governs the division of property for married spouses in Ontario, a matrimonial home is defined as
“every property in which a person has an interest and that is, or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation, ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence”.
Only married spouses can have a “matrimonial home” and as such, only married couples are entitled to the special rights which are attached to it. If you and your former spouse were common law, you should consult with a lawyer regarding your rights, entitlements, or obligations in respect of that property.
The definition of a matrimonial home includes property which is only in the name of one spouse.
Part II of the Family Law Act specifically provides both spouses with the right to possess the property, meaning the right to reside in it, regardless of ownership. This entitlement is considered very important, as it means that one spouse cannot kick the other one out in the event of separation (unless ordered by a court), regardless of who is on title to the property, or who has historically paid for it. Further, since both parties have a right to stay in the home, neither can sublet it, rent it, sell it, or mortgage it, without the permission of the other.
For many married couples, the matrimonial home represents their largest asset, and as such, it forms a critical component of the division of property. Regardless of ownership, and regardless of who has historically paid the mortgage and other expenses for the matrimonial home, each party is entitled to half of the equity in the matrimonial home, subject to the equalization of other assets.
It is important that you consult with a family law lawyer to advise you in respect of your rights, entitlements, and obligation in respect of your matrimonial home.
Once again, I am Deleta Grandy and thank you for watching today.
If you need more information and wish to schedule a free initial consultation, please visit our website at www.separation.ca or contact our office at 905-581-7222.