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Equal contribution: What the law presumes about property division

When a couple divorces in Ontario, the law presumes that each party contributed equally to the marriage. This recognition of equal contribution is particularly important in matters of property division.

The law also presumes that the value of matrimonial property, which is generally property that was acquired during the marriage and before separation, will be shared equally. Property that you owned prior to the marriage may also be shared if the value of the property increased during the course of the marriage. In any case, it is important to inventory and accurately value property to reach a fair settlement.

After the matrimonial property has been inventoried and valued, one of the spouses may have to make an equalization payment to the other. We discussed equalization payments in one of our previous posts, “How is the equalization payment calculated in an Ontario divorce?

It is also important to determine whether any items of property should be excluded from division. For example, if you received a gift or an inheritance from a family member who isn’t your spouse, then the inheritance or gift may be categorized as excluded property as long as it wasn’t applied to the matrimonial home. A divorce lawyer with experience in these matters can help you determine whether any of your property should be excluded.

You and your spouse have an equal right to remain in the matrimonial home unless one of you is ordered by a judge to move out. has more on this very important aspect of property division in Ontario.

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