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Part 1 of the Family Law Act deals with family property and its division in the event of a breakdown of the relationship. As per section 4(1) of the Family Law Act, “property” means any interest, present or future, vested or contingent, in real or personal property and includes:


a. Property over which a spouse has, alone or in conjunction with another person, a power of appointment exercisable in favour of him/her self;


b. Property disposed of by a spouse, but over which the spouse has, alone or in conjunction with another person, a power to revoke the disposition or a power to consume or dispose of the property, and


c. In the case of a spouse’s rights under a pension plan, the imputed value, for family law purposes, of the spouse’s interest in the plan, as determined in accordance with section 10.1 of the Act, for the period beginning with the date of the marriage and ending on the valuation date


When a marriage ends, the equal contribution of each person to the marriage is recognized. The law provides that the value of any kind of property that was acquired by a spouse during the marriage and still exists at separation must be divided equally between the spouses. Also, any increase in the value pf property owned by a spouse at the date of marriage must be shared. The payment that may be owed to one of the spouses in order to effect this sharing is called an equalization payment, or an equalization of net family property. Courts can order the equalization payment to be made in a variety of ways. It can be as a lump sum or paid in installments.


There are some possible exceptions to these rules, which are called excluded property, and may include gifts or inheritances received during the marriage from someone other than a spouse, provided that the gifts or inheritances were not used towards a matrimonial home.


These automatic property sharing provisions only apply to married spouses. If you are in a common law relationship, you are not entitled to an equalization payment, but may be entitled to a payment from your spouse to pay you back for a direct or indirect contribution to property that he or she owns. These claims are referred to as trust claims.


Consulting our family law lawyers about the property division laws in Ontario is critical to ensure that your rights are protected in any division of property. With our considerable family law experience, we can help you develop innovative solutions for your property disputes to protect your rights and interests.

For more information contact Gottlieb Law Firm located in the Greater Toronto Area,

call us at (416) 227-1653 or send us an email at:




For questions and inquiries or to explore your legal options, contact us at Gottlieb Law Firm. 

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