With the ease of internet searching, it is all-to-easy for my clients to get information – and frequently misinformation – about basic Family Law concepts. Respecting the matrimonial home in particular, here are a few topics that I commonly run across when speaking with my clients, usually during an initial consultation:
1) Does the matrimonial home automatically get split in half on divorce? No. The common misconception persists that – no matter who holds title – the matrimonial home is divided in half upon separation and divorce. This is not quite true. As I have written before, the matrimonial home is indeed treated differently under Ontario family legislation, but it is to mandate that the full value of the home gets shared as part of the net family property of the title-owning spouse.
2) Can there be more than one “matrimonial home”? Yes. Any presumption to the contrary is simply not valid. As I have explained more fully in a separate article, a frequently-used second home such as a cottage, vacation home, condominium or other residence can also be considered a matrimonial home in some circumstances.
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3) Do you have the right to lock out your spouse if he or she moves out of the home upon separation? No. Once spouses formally separate, each of them is given the equal legal right to have possession of the matrimonial home they formerly shared, not matter which of them holds legal title. The provisions of the Ontario Family Law Act expressly grant this right.
Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide tailored, practical advice and effective representation in connection with separation and divorce, child custody and support, cohabitation and separation agreements, family mediation, and all other areas of Ontario Family Law. Contact us to set up a consultation.