The Matrimonial Home: Definition and Division

In Ontario, for Family Law purposes, 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.” Pursuant to our legislation, regardless of ownership, both spouses have a right of possession to the home, even on separation.  These rights do not pertain to common law spouses.  These possessory rights do not affect the ownership otherwise existing in the home.

On separation, a married spouse cannot be compelled to vacate the matrimonial home (owned solely by the other spouse) without order of the court.  Nor can a spouse sell, borrow against or otherwise encumber a matrimonial home without the consent of the other spouse or order of the court.

 

Photo: Brook Ward: Flickr Creative Commons License. Cropped; changed to black and white.