After a relationship breakdown, spouses have the right to divide their property. If the spouses are married, then the property division takes place in accordance to calculations in the Family Law Act. If the parties were not married, the property is divided on common law principles of property ownership and equitable principles of trust. Therefore, both married and unmarried couples have claims to property rights once the relationship breaks down.
The Family Law Act property provisions allow spouses to share equally in the value of most property acquired during the marriage, as well as an increase in value during the marriage of previously owned property. There are specific formulas and calculations applied to the total value of property to determine who it is divided between spouses. Spouses do not share the value of property that they bring into the marriage, only the increase of the property value during the marriage. The exception to this is the matrimonial home, where different principles apply depending on if it was purchased before or during the marriage.
Inheritances through third parties are an exception to the division of property after a marriage breakdown. Even though they are acquired during a marriage, they are not shared. Other examples of excluded property include:
- Damages received for personal injuries
- Property that the parties have agreed to exclude by way of a domestic contract
- Unadjusted pensionable earnings
- Proceeds of life insurance policies which are payable upon the death of the life insured
If you have questions about an inheritance affecting your division of family property, please do not hesitate to contact our office: 416-924-5969