Often the biggest family asset to be divided during a separation is the house. In the case of a marriage breakdown, the family home(s) or marital home where the spouses ordinarily lived is called the “matrimonial home”.
Even if only one spouse owns the matrimonial home, it cannot be sold or encumbered (eg. with another mortgage) without the written consent of the other spouse. A spouse cannot sell or encumber the home unless there is a Court Order or Separation Agreement which authorizes the transfer of interest in the home from one spouse to the other.
Unlike other assets and debts acquired during the marriage, where the value is determined by any increase or decrease from the date of marriage to the date of separation, the matrimonial home is treated differently under the Family Law Act.
Rather, even if one spouse brings the matrimonial home into the marriage, both spouses may be entitled to half the value as of the date of separation. Depending on the facts of your case, a family lawyer can help you determine what entitlement you and your spouse have to the matrimonial home.