The Matrimonial Home–Be Aware! (Part 2)

A quick recap from Part 1:  Under the Ontario Family Law Act, if you bring a residence into the marriage, one which is treated as the ‘matrimonial home’ as of the date of separation, you cannot deduct the date of marriage value of this home.  The whole value will be included when it comes to determining the equalization payment owing by one to the other. 
 

 If a person were contemplating marriage, and intends to bring into the marriage a previously owned home, one in which the couple will reside until death do they part, this might be a good reason to consider investing in a prenuptial agreement/marriage contract prior to tying the nuptial knot.  If you have made the mistake of bringing the home into the relationship, and the relationship is not working out, you might want to sell the home well prior to formally dissolving the relationship. 
 And yet another cautionary note about the ‘matrimonial home’…… Did you know that under Part 2 of the Family Law Act, Section 24 to be exact, a Court could order that one of the parties have temporary exclusive possession of the matrimonial, regardless of who owns the home?  So, for example, our hapless hero, poor, poor Jane brought the matrimonial home into the marriage—and as outlined in Part 1 of this blog, she already lost big time with respect to the home’s value—she could still be evicted from her home (temporarily, at any rate).  Jack would be allowed to stay and Jane would have to go.  Why would a Court make that decision?   There are several other factors but a big one has to do with the children: if the Court determined that Jack had been the primary caretaker of the children, and the interests of the children would be best served by allowing them to stay in the home with the primary caretaker, this result could happen. 
In conclusion, many of the provisions of the Family Law Act are archaic, implemented originally to protect women:  women who stayed at home to be the happy homemakers, the primary caretakers for the children.  However, in this era of two income families (by golly, it is hard to make a go of it in this day and age with only one income stream) and income parity between the sexes (relatively speaking compared to before at any rate), perhaps the provisions dealing with the matrimonial home should be revisited.  
 
For that matter, why would the matrimonial home provisions of the Ontario Family Law Act only apply to married couples, as opposed to common-law couples as well? 
 
Well, for that matter, why do all the property provisions of the Ontario Family Law Act only apply to married couples?  
 
Definitely antiquated stuff, and not in keeping with the way our society has been evolving. 

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