Q&A By John T. Syrtash, Associate,
Garfin Zeidenberg LLP, a Toronto family law lawyer for the past 39 years
Question: What is a matrimonial home and does it get any special treatment?
Answer: Under the Ontario Family Law Act a matrimonial home is every property in which a person has an interest and that was ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence at the time of their separation. There can be more than one matrimonial home. For example, a vacation home may also count as a matrimonial home.
The matrimonial home in Ontario qualifies for special treatment in two ways. First, regardless of whose name it is in, both spouses have equal rights to the possession of the matrimonial home. That right continues until the parties are no longer spouses or until there is a court order or agreement providing otherwise. No one can throw out the other spouse just because one party owns the house. Second, if a home is a matrimonial home at the date of separation and was the same home lived in at the date of marriage then the owner cannot deduct its marriage date value when calculating his or her Net Family Property. Its valuation date value is included as a valuation date asset but without any corresponding deduction. This situation doesn’t come up often, but when it does it can have a huge impact.
John Syrtash is an associate and family law lawyer with the Toronto firm of GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP.
John T. Syrtash B.A. (Hon.) LL. background:
Invited Speaker on Bill 78, Proposed Changes to Canada’s Divorce Act, House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (November 26, 2018)
Editor of the Syrtash Family Law Newsletter, Lexis Nexis
President of the Syrtash Spousal Support Database
Author of Religion and Culture in Canadian Family Law, Butterworths
Author A Calendar of Northern Fables, Amazon
Neither GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP nor John Syrtash is liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material, presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.
John T. Syrtash,
GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 6P4
Cell: (416) 886-0359
Fax: (416) 512-9992