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I have been married two years. My parents want to help me and my spouse buy a house. They are going

According to the Family Law Act, the matrimonial home is treated as a special type of property. The rules governing the ownership of regular property (such as the name on the title is presumed to be the owner) do not apply. Hence, both spouses are seen as joint owners of the home once the spouses treated the home as the matrimonial home and continued to live in that home, even if not on a continuous basis, until the date of separation.

If the home was the matrimonial home, then the equity in the home will be shared by both spouses upon the breakdown of the relationship. As a result, any funds, including gifts given to one spouse, which is then applied to purchasing the home or maintaining it (for example, the mortgage payments), will be shared by both spouses. However, the spouse receiving the $100,000 would be able to exclude the funds under s. 4(2) of the Family Law Act from being shared. To do this both spouses would need to enter into a domestic contract under s. 52 of the said Act agreeing that the $100,000 received from the parents would not be shared by both upon the breakdown of the relationship even though used as a down payment for the matrimonial home.

The analysis of whether the $100,000 is excluded property is a complex matter. Our firm has family lawyers that can assist you in this process.

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