What is a matrimonial home in Ontario?
A “matrimonial home” has a specific definition in Ontario law. It is the house that a married couple lives in at the time of separation. In common law relationships, there is no legal “matrimonial home.” In such relationships, it is best to refer to the house using common parlance like the family home or one spouse’s home.
On the other hand, in marriages, the matrimonial home has special treatment. For example, one spouse cannot get a mortgage on the matrimonial home without the other spouse’s consent. In addition, a court can give one spouse the exclusive right to possess a matrimonial home, irrespective of ownership. Sometimes, when the best interests of the children require it, the court will ensure that only one spouse can live in the home for a specific period of time. How long that period of time lasts depends on the facts unique to that family.
There is a common misconception that a matrimonial home is deemed to be owned equally, irrespective of who actually owns it, simply because it has other special characteristics in law. This is incorrect. The ownership of a matrimonial home is not impacted by a separation. Therefore, post-separation changes in value generally are to the gain or detrminent of the spouse who is on title.
The lawyers at Modern Family Law LLP have extensive experience with the matrimonial home and can give you advice tailored to your situation. Call 647-DIVORCE or use our contact form for a free 15 minute phone or Zoom consultation.