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Division of major assets during a divorce in Ontario

A person's life after the end of a marriage may look very different than it once did. Divorce changes more than just marital status; the money coming in, the things surrounding a person, maybe even the home one lives in, may all have changed. In order to begin preparing for a new life, it may be helpful to have some understanding of what will happen to some of the key assets in a marriage.

The value of just about everything acquired by either spouse during the marriage will be divided equally during a divorce in Ontario. There are some exceptions, referred to as excluded property, including gifts and inheritances. For many couples, the most valuable, and complicated, asset is the matrimonial, or family home.

Since the home is marital property, both parties have the right to remain in the home. In rare instances, a judge may rule that one party must vacate the home. The home cannot be sold, rented, remortgaged or sublet by either party without the consent of the other. Should neither party agree to leave the home, the issue can be decided through mediation or litigation. If neither party can afford to live in the house, they can sell it and split the proceeds evenly.

If either spouse is receiving a pension, this may represent a significant asset. The non-recipient spouse is entitled to half the value of any pensions the other spouse receives. If the pension is not yet being received (most pensions do not pay out until retirement), the non-recipient spouse can be paid his or her share directly from the pension without having to wait until the start date.

Property division is a complex aspect of divorce. In order to be certain everything proceeds fairly, it may be advisable to work with a professional. An Ontario lawyer with a focus on family law will help ensure a fair settlement.

Source: attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca, "Division of Property", Accessed on Feb. 25, 2017

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