I Looked After and Paid the Mortgage on Our Home, But It Is In My In-Law’s Name - What Happens When we Divorce?

Matrimonial Home that a spouse can loose after a short marriage

"Matrimonial homes" can create complex legal problems. However, it does sound as if your wife istrying to pull the wool over your eyes and hoping that you will not meet with a lawyer to help you.



Unless you have a marriage contract, matrimonial homes are always included in the property calculations at full value.  That means your wife has to include it as her asset at full value (less the mortgage). When you separate, one married spouse makes a payment to the other married spouse in an amount that makes the growth in their net worths during the marriage the same.  There are some exceptions to this, one of which is a matrimonial home.  The full value of a matrimonial home on the date of separation is included in the calculation, even if one spouse brought it into the marriage.  For more about how property is divided after a marriage, I recommend that you listen to this podcast. It is also possible that after a short marriage, a judge would not order a payment to "equalize" the growth in your net worths, although that is less likely because you lived together for a while before the marriage.  You are likely entitled to an equalization payment, so you should speak to a lawyer to figure that out.

Another special feature of matrimonial homes is that both spouses are entitled to stay in after separation until they agree or a court orders otherwise.  So, you don't have to leave.  Of course, if she is threatening to make false allegations of assault against you to get you out, you may not want to stay if it gets you arrested.  That is another good reason to meet with a lawyer.  That topic, and other considerations when you first separate are discussed in this video and watch this video to avoid making other mistakes.

To understand matrimonial homes better, you may also want to watch this video

In addition to the above resources, I recommend you pick up a copy of this $20-easy-to-understand book about Ontario Family Law
 It covers not only these matrimonial home and property issues, but all the other common family law issues such as support, restraining orders and the family court process, which may be things that you need to know.    However, in your situation, it sounds like making an appointment to meet with a good family lawyer would be a wise investment.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


The best way to figure out what to do in your particular circumstances, and to come up with a plan to keep “your” house, or at least get your value out of it, is to speak to a good family law lawyer.  John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law.  To contact John, or to comment on this post, please use the contact form below.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the buttons below the contact form.

© John P. Schuman 2014