Matrimonial homes

A matrimonial home is the home where two people who are married are living, at the time of their separation. It is a well known fact that in the event of a separation, the value of the matrimonial home is equally divided between the parties. But did you know that the equal division of the home takes place even if your spouse’s name is not on title, and he/she has made no financial contributions to the property!

For example: Tina invests wisely for many years, and now owns her Burlington town home free and clear – no mortgage. She meets John. They fall in love, John moves into her home and they get married. After two (2) blissful years of marriage, Tina and John grow apart, and separate.

In this fictitious scenario, The Family Law Act provides that John will be entitled to half of the value of Tina’s house, even though he has made no financial contributions to the purchase or upkeep of the property, and is not on title. All other premarital assets owned by Tina will be deducted from the equalization of net family property. However, the matrimonial home is the exception to the general rule.

What is the lesson to be learned from this for Tina? Before you move in with someone, ensure that a Domestic Agreement is duly signed. The Domestic Agreement, whether it is a cohabitation agreement or marriage agreement, will exclude the matrimonial home from the equalization of net family property thus saving you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run!