Property rights and obligations - Family Law

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This webinar produced by CLEO and presented by METRAC looks at property issues between married and co-habiting couples that arise during their relationship and following breakdown. Topics include the matrimonial home or shared properties, other assets and liabilities, how to protect property, and issues for surviving spouses. Presenters are Tamar Witelson, Legal Director at The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) and Robert Halpern, partner and head of the Family Law Group at the law firm Torkin Manes.

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Property rights and obligations - Family Law

  1. 1. To view this presentation as a webinar with sound visit Your Legal Rights www.yourlegalrights.on.ca/trainingYour Legal Rights is a web site of legal information for people in Ontario. It contains free, easy to understand legal information produced by hundreds of organizations across Ontario.
  2. 2. METRAC WebinarProperty Rights and Obligations ofMarried and Co-habiting Partners January 19, 2012 12:00pm – 1:00pm METRAC 158 Spadina Road, Toronto ON, Canada www.metrac.org | info@metrac.org | Phone 416-392-3135
  3. 3. METRACMETRAC, The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women andChildren, is a not-for-profit, community-based organization that works to prevent andend violence against women, youth, and children, across diverse communities. METRAC’S Community Justice Program provides accessible legalinformation, education, and training for women and service providers. It examines howlegislation and legal practices affect women from diverse backgrounds and especiallythose experiencing abuse or violence. www.METRAC.orgFLEW, The Family Law Education for Women campaign information on women’s rights and options under Ontario family law available in 14 languages, accessible formats, online and print www.OneFamilyLaw.ca Phone: 416-392-9138 METRAC Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/metracorg METRAC Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metracorg METRAC Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/metracorg
  4. 4. PresentersTamar Witelson Robert HalpernLegal Director, METRAC Family Law Specialist, Torkin Manes LLP, Toronto Author of Property Rights and Obligations under Ontario Family Law
  5. 5. Division of Family Property in Ontario Ontario Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER F.3 applies to married spouses, both opposite and same sex guiding principles: marriage is an equal partnership assumes each spouse contributes equally to household, child and financial responsibilities result: each spouse entitled to equal share of family assets/debts at marriage breakdown
  6. 6. Equalization Paymentapplies to the increase in couple’s property that occurred during themarriagededucted: property (minus debts) that each spouse owned on the date ofmarriage (except the Matrimonial Home)excluded: gifts that each spouse personally received during the marriage(except the Matrimonial Home)calculate Net Family Property for each spouse: total assets minus totaldebts for each spouse at end of marriageasset examples: businesses, real estate (land, cottages, secondary or rental properties), furnishings, bank accounts, pensions, carsdebt examples: mortgages, bank loans, car loans, credit card balances, unpaid income taxes
  7. 7. Equalization Payment (Cont’d)calculation of Equalization Payment: higher Net Family Property (spouse 1) minus lower Net Family Property (spouse 2) divide the difference by two (equals $X) spouse 1 pays half the difference ($X) to spouse 2Domestic Contracts: spouses can agree to exclude specific propertyfrom the equalization calculationviolence or abuse: get legal advice before signing any agreement aboutdivision of family property
  8. 8. Matrimonial Home“Matrimonial Home” is the home ordinarily occupied by the spouses as thefamily residence at the time of separationthere are special rules for theMatrimonial Home in theequalization calculationthe Matrimonial Home is included in theproperty calculation of the spouse(s)whose name is on the deedif the Matrimonial Home was owned byone spouse before the marriage, it is NOT deducted from that spouse’sNet Family Property
  9. 9. Matrimonial Home (Cont’d)if the Matrimonial Home was a gift to one of the spouses during themarriage, it is NOT excluded from that spouse’s Net Family Propertythe value of the Matrimonial Home at separation must be included in thecalculation of the Equalization Paymentboth spouses have a right to live in the Matrimonial Home unless and untilthere is a court order or agreement to the contrary locks cannot be changed by one party without a court order or agreement to the contrary property cannot be sold without both spouses’ agreement
  10. 10. PresentersTamar Witelson Robert HalpernLegal Director, METRAC Family Law Specialist, Torkin Manes LLP, Toronto Author of Property Rights and Obligations under Ontario Family Law
  11. 11. Common Law or Cohabiting PartnersThe Family Law Act rules for division of property do NOT apply to commonlaw or cohabiting partnersThe Family Law Act does apply to common law partners for spousalsupport in Ontario, “Common Law” partners for support purposes are defined asspouses who have lived together for at least three years or have a childtogether and lived together in a relationship of some permanence
  12. 12. Common Law or Cohabiting Partners (Cont’d) the courts have made rules for the division of property between unmarried cohabiting partners factors the court considers: long relationship integrated finances cooperation in running the household cooperation raising children leaving school or workforce for family moving for one partner’s career the court may order one partner to pay money to the other or divide ownership of some family property between partners
  13. 13. Surviving Spousesif wife or husband dies before his/her spouse, the surviving spouse has achoice regarding family property: 1. if there is a will, accept the bequest of property according to the will, OR 2. if there isn’t a will, accept the assignment of property according to the rules for intestacy (no will), OR 3. choose division of property according to the equalization calculation.if division of property by equalization calculation (#3), payment to thesurviving spouse takes priority over will or intestacy rules
  14. 14. Where to Get Legal Advice1. consult a family law lawyer in private practice recommended by a friend or support agency Law Society of Upper Canada Referral Service www.lsuc.on.ca toll free: 1-800-668-73802. Legal Aid Ontario online info from Family Law Information Program (FLIP) http://legalaid.on.ca/data/hidden/FLIP_en/player.html Family Law Information Clinics (FLICs) http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_family.asp Family Law Service Centres http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=flsc legal aid certificate for complex cases or if domestic violence is involved www.legalaid.on.ca3. Community Legal Clinics some specialty clinics, serving specific communities, may cover family law issues http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=scl
  15. 15. METRAC Webinar Questions? METRAC 158 Spadina Road, Toronto ON, Canada www.metrac.org | info@metrac.org | Phone 416-392-3135
  16. 16. PresentersTamar Witelson Robert HalpernLegal Director, METRAC Family Law Specialist, Torkin Manes LLP, Toronto Author of Property Rights and Obligations under Ontario Family Law
  17. 17. Useful ResourcesMETRAC: www.METRAC.orgOntario Women’s Justice Network: www.OWJN.orgFamily Law Education for Women: www.OneFamilyLaw.ca METRAC 158 Spadina Road, Toronto ON, Canada www.metrac.org | info@metrac.org | Phone 416-392-3135
  18. 18. This webinar was brought to you byYour Legal Rights: A website of legal information for people in Ontario For more information visit Your Legal Rights at www.yourlegalrights.on.caFor more public legal information webinars visit: www.yourlegalrights.on.ca/training

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