Protect gifts toward a matrimonial home from divorce – Boutet on

Often, parents want to help a child who’s getting married by contributing to the cost of the matrimonial home. This may be in the form of money for a down payment on a house, assistance with reducing the mortgage, or even giving the house as a gift.

If a parent gives something to their child before the marriage, section 4(1) of the Family Law Act (Ontario) says that the entire value of the gift on the date of the marriage will be excluded from that child’s net family property if there is a divorce in the future.

However, if the gift relates to the matrimonial home of the couple, meaning the home that is ordinarily occupied by the couple at the time of separation, then no exclusion is permitted. This means that the entire value of the matrimonial home — even the portion owned by the child before the marriage — and any gift invested in the house will be divided equally between that child and his or her spouse if they later separate.

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