Does My Spouse Still Have to Share the House He Inherited?

The residence (or residences) you lived in on the date of separation is (are) your matrimonial home(s). Matrimonial homes can cause people a lot of difficulties with separation. If one spouse is an owner of the matrimonial home, he or she MUST include that interest in Net Family Property – even if that interest would otherwise have been excluded as an inheritance. Unless there is a marriage contract, matrimonial homes are always included in Net Family Property. Net Family Property is what you divide when you separate. How your property may be divided depends on what else you own, but, unless you agree not to apply the property equalization provisions of the Family Law Act, your has to share the value of his interest in the house with you. (Other people who are not your spouse do not have to share their interests in the house with you, only married spouses have to share their interests in property under the Family Law Act.)

A common property that people inherit is a family cottage – or they inherit the cottage along with other family members. However, if a husband and wife treated the cottage like a “family home”, then the inheriting spouse’s interest in the cottage has to be shared in a divorce. Spouses can have more than one matrimonial home. Not only do spouses have to share a cottage that is a matrimonial home, but both spouses have a right, under the Family Law Act, to continue to use the cottage after separation. To protect a family cottage from being a matrimonial home, speak to a good family law lawyer.

While matrimonial homes are always shared in a divorce (unless there is a marriage contract), other inheritances are not included in the property that spouses share by value. However, it can be possible to lose that protected status for an inheritance. Speak to a family lawyer whenever you inherit anything of significance or importance. 

John Schuman Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law book cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of parenting cases (parenting time and decision making), child support, spousal support, property division, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback. But to understand how the law works precisely in your situation, it is always best to speak to a good Family Law Lawyer.

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