Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Matrimonial Property Definition:

Property owned by one or both of two persons who are married to one another which, upon the application of one of the spouses to a court, is subject to division between them.

Related Terms: Matrimonial Asset, Community Property, Marital Property

The property of married persons.

The precise definition of what might be included in matrimonial property differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Also referred to, in some jurisdictions, as family assets or matrimonial assets.

Usually, the parties have to be physically separated before a court will entertain an application to identify and divide alleged matrimonial assets.

Pensions accrued to either spouse are usually held to be matrimonial property, as is the family home and other assets which, although acquired or paid for by one spouse only, was used for a family purpose and is thus converted to matrimonial property, and subject to division between the spouses, with adjustments for matrimonial debts.

The Nova Scotia Matrimonial Property Act states, in the preamble to the statute:

"WHEREAS it is desirable to encourage and strengthen the role of the family in society;

"AND WHEREAS for that purpose it is necessary to recognize the contribution made to a marriage by each spouse;

"AND WHEREAS in support of such recognition it is necessary to provide in law for the orderly and equitable settlement of the affairs of the spouses upon the termination of a marriage relationship;

"AND WHEREAS it is necessary to provide for mutual obligations in family relationships including the responsibility of parents for their children;

"AND WHEREAS it is desirable to recognize that childcare, household management and financial support are the joint responsibilities of the spouses and that there is a joint contribution by the spouses, financial and otherwise, that entitles each spouse equally to the matrimonial assets."


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