WHAT IS A MATRIMONIAL ASSET IN DIVORCE?

matrimonial asset - house being divided

What is a “matrimonial asset” that can be divided by the Family Court upon a divorce?

Whether a property is a matrimonial asset depends on whether it is acquired (obtained) before or after marriage and whether or not it is a gift or inheritance.

Any asset (property or thing) acquired by either or both parties after the date of the marriage is a “matrimonial asset”. Matrimonial assets may include items such as landed properties, stocks and shares, money in fixed deposits and other bank accounts, vehicles, businesses, jewellery, furniture, paintings, artwork etc.

Any asset acquired by either or both parties before the date of the marriage is a matrimonial asset provided:

it has been ordinarily used or enjoyed by either spouse or the child(ren) while the parties are residing together, for shelter or transportation or for household, educational, recreational, social or aesthetic purposes; or

it has been substantially improved during the marriage by the other party or by both parties to the marriage.

Any asset acquired by way of a gift or inheritance, whether before or after the marriage, is not a matrimonial asset, unless either of the following conditions is met:

  1. the gift or inheritance is a matrimonial home (property the couple or the family resided in during the marriage); or
  2. the gift or inheritance has been substantially improved by the other party, or by both parties to the marriage.

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