Matrimonial Home & Divorce Property Rights


The matrimonial home is a pivotal asset in almost every Ontario divorce.

As the pivotal asset in a divorce, the matrimonial home affects all aspects of settlement. MatrimonialHome.com was designed by Toronto family lawyer Elliot S. Birnboim to raise awareness of the need for early, experienced advice on this fundamental asset to ensure optimal outcomes in your divorce.

Know how the matrimonial home affects your rights in divorce.

Helping you to achieve the best outcome in your divorce requires careful consideration as to how your rights in the matrimonial home impact the rest of your issues:

  • Child custody: Courts generally prefer that children stay in the matrimonial home, at least initially so that they suffer the least disruption as a result of the separation. The spouse who lives in the matrimonial home at the outset therefore has an advantage over a spouse who does not when it comes to custody rights.
  • Child support: If one spouse resides in the matrimonial home with children, it is the spouse who is outside the matrimonial home who is more likely to be paying child support.
  • Spousal support: If a party has the children in his or her care in the matrimonial home, this may make it more likely that he or she will receive spousal support – and in greater amounts. Even when there are no children, possession of the matrimonial home can directly affect the amount or entitlement to spousal support.
  • Property division: The matrimonial home is treated differently from other assets. Often, it is the couple’s main asset and the only source of equity to satisfy equalization.
  • Exclusive possession of the matrimonial home: Possession of the matrimonial home can be key to all issues in divorce. Once a party leaves the matrimonial home, it can be tough to get back in. The courts have the power to grant one party or the other exclusive possession of the matrimonial home – regardless of who owns the property. Early legal advice is fundamental to ensure rights to possession of the matrimonial home are not lost.
  • Buying the matrimonial home: One spouse may want to buy out the other spouse’s share of the home. Courts are very reluctant to force a party to buy or sell his or her interest in the home to the other spouse. Achieving this result requires careful consideration and planning – together with an early determination of whether it is affordable or advisable to make this purchase.
  • Selling the matrimonial home: Courts can force the sale of the matrimonial home but may be reluctant to do so. If one party is reluctant to do so, it may require careful planning and a very detailed “step-by-step” process to ensure that the matrimonial home is sold for fair value.
  • Domestic violence and exclusive possession: Accusations of domestic violence can have the material effect on granting one spouse exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. Early advice where there is a risk of this issue being raised is crucial to avoid dramatic consequences.
  • Business interests and the matrimonial home: There are some complex distinctions between how the matrimonial home and valuable business assets are treated upon any settlement. A thorough understanding of the valuation of businesses and how to properly value income from a business is crucial component of a divorce settlement. As a family lawyer and a business litigator, Elliot S. Birnboim provides critical advice about how to address these issues effectively in a divorce.

Seek advice early. Sophisticated thinking at the outset of your separation is critical to secure your rights.

Call us for a free consultation.

To learn more about the matrimonial home and divorce law, consult with us today. Call 1.800.648.7943 or 416-800-2573, or use our online contact form.

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