VB Law is committed to providing client-centred legal advice.
Matters related to the spouses/former spouses matrimonial home may be governed by the Family Law Act (FLA). More specifically, part II of the FLA addresses matters directly related to the matrimonial home. For example, part II of the FLA addresses issues such as the definition of a matrimonial home; rights to possession of the matrimonial home; and orders for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home.
Section 18(1) of the FLA states that:
Every property in which a person has an interest and that is or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence is their matrimonial home.
Section 19(1) of the FLA solidifies each spouse’s right to possess the matrimonial home by stating that both spouses have an equal right to possession of a matrimonial home.
Another important aspect of part II of the FLA is related to which spouse may get exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. For example, section 24(1)(b) of the FLA states:
Regardless of the ownership of a matrimonial home and its contents, and despite section 19 (spouse’s right of possession), the court may on application, by order, direct that one spouse be given exclusive possession of the matrimonial home or part of it for the period that the court directs and release other property that is a matrimonial home from the application of this Part;
The FLA at section 24(3) supplements the above by providing criteria to be considered when making a determination of exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. Section 24(3) states:
In determining whether to make an order for exclusive possession, the court shall consider,
(a) the best interests of the children affected;
(b) any existing orders under part I (Family Property) and any existing support orders or other enforceable support obligations;
(c) the financial position of both spouses;
(d) any written agreement between the parties;
(e) the availability of other suitable and affordable accommodation; and
(f) any violence committed by a spouse against the other spouse or the children.
Matters related to the matrimonial home can be complicated. Contact our office to discuss your rights to the matrimonial home.