用别墅做嫁妆,你可能失去半栋房子!

用别墅做嫁妆,你可能失去半栋房子!

用别墅做嫁妆,你可能失去半栋房子!

一位从国内来的阿姨曾打来电话,满是担忧地问,“我们刚给女儿看准一套独立屋,准备买下。不过….女儿交了个男友,相处2年了,准备结婚,但我们老两口觉得这男友不太靠谱;一旦女儿带着房子结婚,是不是今后房子的一半就归女婿所有了?”

简单的答案是:如果两人当真过不下去,几年后不幸散伙,女儿这个重头嫁妆的资产净值(房屋价值就要被二人平分。

离婚?平分的不只是别墅:

婚姻破裂后,财产如何分配?根据安省家庭法中的财产分割条款,我们大可以把婚姻看成一桩“商业合作”。不信你看,合伙人公司中的商业伙伴叫做“partner”, 人生伴侣也常常被称作 “partner”。在合伙企业中,商业伙伴利润平分,到了婚姻关系中,则是配偶双方的资产增长净值平分

来看个简单的例子:

珍妮在28岁那年嫁给了高中同学杰克。珍妮是一名药剂师,杰克是一位儿科医生。结婚那年:

 

珍妮拥有 杰克拥有
  • 一个互惠基金投资账户,账面价值3万元
  • 一辆全新的CRV跑车,价值3.5万元,无贷款
  • 2万元的学生贷款
  • 一个定期储蓄账户,账面价值4万元
  • 一辆2年新的凌志轿车,市价4万,贷款2万
  • 200股苹果公司的股份,每股价值112

净资产=3万+3.5万-2万=4.5万

净资产=4万+(4万-2万)+112×200=8.24万

 

两个人决定不买房,一是工作太忙没时间扫雪剪草坪,二是暂时不打算要小孩。结婚后一直租住一套两室一厅的高级公寓。

3年后,珍妮和杰克打算分手,原因是杰克一门心思要去非洲当志愿者,珍妮不愿陪同前往,更无法放弃自己在多伦多的事业。

分手的时候,二人的财产清单如下:

珍妮 杰克
  • 互惠基金投资账户,3万元增值到3万8
  • CRV跑车还开着,市价2万元
  • 学生贷款还掉了6000元,还剩1.4万
  • 储蓄账户还在,不过余额缩水到2万元
  • 凌志轿车的贷款还清了,车的市价3万
  • 200股的苹果公司股份,每股上涨到了250元
净资产= 3.8万+2万-1.4万=4.4万 净资产=2万+3万+5万=10万

 

这时候,我们就可以计算一下3年的婚姻生活后,两人各自的资产是增是减,增了多少,减了多少?

珍妮资产净增长=分手时资产总值-结婚时资产总值 杰克资产净增长=分手时资产总值-结婚时资产总值
4.4万-4.5万= – 1000 (负债归零) 10万-8.24万=17600

珍妮资产净值缩水,负债1000,根据财产分割原理,负债归零;杰克资产净值上涨1.76万。

结果:二人平分杰克的1.76万增值部分,杰克应付给珍妮1.76/2=8800

如果结婚前,珍妮的父母送给她一栋别墅,结果会怎样?

电话中咨询阿姨的顾虑出现了,父母在子女婚前赠送房产,会不会反而帮了倒忙,让子女承受经济损失呢?答案是有可能,但也可以避免!

结局一:珍妮失去房子一半的价值

我们来假设珍妮和杰克在结婚时和离婚时资产均为零。唯独珍妮的父母在婚前赠送给她一栋三室一厅的独立屋,结婚后,小两口就一直住在里头,直到结束这段短暂的婚姻。独立屋购买的价格是60万,由于多伦多房价疯涨,到了离婚那年,房子涨到80万。

根据上述的公式,您可能会猜测,那增值的20万是不是要算做珍妮的资产净增长,面临被平分的结局?

不仅仅如此,因为婚后珍妮和杰克共同居住在这座房子里,这处房产便有了不一样的待遇,它被家庭法定义为“婚房Matrimonial Home”, 其全部价值都要算入珍妮在离婚时的净资产。因此,需要被平分的不是20万,而是房子的全部市价80万!

当然,法庭不会让离婚的配偶把房子从中间切开,一人一半,也不会把一楼判给太太,二楼判给先生。分割财产的结果只是一个数字,即:珍妮需要付给杰克40万。这时候,珍妮有什么选择呢?要不从房子中贷出40万支付给杰克,以后每月慢慢还清;要么只能将房子卖掉,把卖房款的一半拱手交给杰克了。

结局二:签订婚前协议或婚姻合同,保护珍妮的房产独有

好在珍妮的父母在赠送房产的时候就明确表示,为了保护珍妮对房屋资产的独有,二人必须签署”婚前协议 Prenuptial Agreement “(俗称Pre-Nup)才能正式领证。婚前协议中要写清楚,一旦婚姻破裂,房产的全部价值归珍妮所有,杰克无权分享。如果珍妮和杰克已经正式结婚,可以签署一份 “婚姻合同Marriage Contract”, 目的也是列出同样的条款,避免分手时房产价值被平分。

无论是婚前协议还是婚姻合同,都建议咨询专业的家庭法律师,以保证合同具有充分的法律效力。

有人问一位资深的家庭法律师:如果未婚夫/妻拒绝签署婚前协议,并因此大闹一场,该怎么办?难道这婚不结了?

律师回答:如果 两个人在结婚前不能平心静气地讨论这样的重大财务问题,万一婚姻半途而废,岂不是矛盾会更加激化?再者,如果还没结婚就为财产而发生争端,一旦结婚了,会不会也为家庭财务和重大决定而吵得不可开交呢?这样的婚,暂时不结也罢!

对于很多中年结婚或是二婚的夫妻,婚前协议或婚姻合同反倒更为普遍,也更为二人所接受。有的夫妻表示,虽然两人关系亲密,生活中不分彼此,但毕竟各自奋斗了大半辈子,积累了可观的财富。签署婚姻合同,是对二人关系的严肃考虑和重视;有合同在手,反而多了一份安心,而减少了婚后矛盾的发生。

 

 

 

English Article for Reference:

By Michael Reilly, a family law lawyer and mediator practising in Pickering Village, Ajax, Ontario.

Reilly & Partners
Professional Corporation

http://www.reillyandpartners.com/matrimonial-home-law-ontario-affects-homeowner/

Retrieved October 12, 2015

The Matrimonial Home & Divorce: How Family Law in Ontario Affects Homeowners

Estimates vary but it is a sad fact that more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.  In addition, some marriages end in a permanent separation but no divorce and are therefore not included in divorce statistics. Despite this high rate of marriage failure, prenuptial agreements remain rare.   Of course, it’s easy to understand.  Nothing puts a damper on wedding preparations faster than sitting down with lawyers to discuss what happens if your relationship doesn’t last “till death do us part”.

Do You Need a Prenup?

Fortunately, many people do not require a prenuptial agreement.  If you do not have children from a prior relationship, own a house, have significant assets, or earn a very large income, while a prenuptial agreement may be of assistance, your rights will probably not seriously be affected by not having one.  However, there are many cases where the absence of a prenuptial agreement has a severe effect on one or both spouses if their marriage ends.

The most significant example and the most common in my experience is where one party owns a property before marriage which subsequently becomes a matrimonial home.  According to s. 18 of the Family Law Act, a matrimonial home is defined as “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 …”.  For the purposes of property division after a marriage has ended, this means the home or homes you and your spouse lived in on the date you separated.  You can have more than one matrimonial home on the date of separation, typically a cottage or other vacation property. You should ask a lawyer whether your vacation property qualifies as a matrimonial home as in some cases it will not.

The Family Law Act in Ontario

Before I explain why sole ownership of a property which becomes a matrimonial home is so significant, I need to explain how property division in Ontario (and most provinces) works on marriage breakdown.  In theory, it is a simple process:  with a few notable exceptions (see s. 4(2) of the Family Law Act), you are essentially dividing all assets that accumulated during the marriage.  You calculate your net assets on the date of marriage, and again on the date of separation, and arrive at what is referred to as your net family property.  Your spouse does the same calculation.  Whoever has the highest net family property makes a payment to the other spouse to equalize the amounts.  This payment is known as an equalization payment.

Unfortunately for many people, the notable exceptions I mentioned often produce unfair results.  There are many examples involving inheritances, gifts and damages awarded by a court.  I will address some of these examples in other blogs.  However, in my experience, it is an exception that relates to the value of a matrimonial home on the date of marriage that causes the most trouble.  This exception to the straightforward division of assets can be found in the definition of net family property in s. 4(1) of the Family Law Act.  The definition specifically removes the value of a matrimonial home from the calculation of assets owned on the date of marriage.  The significance of this cannot be overstated.  What it means is this:  if you own a home or vacation property on the date of marriage which becomes a matrimonial home and remains so until the date of separation, you must include the entire value of the property in the calculation of net family property, not just the increase in equity which accrued during the marriage.

Here’s an example to make it clear:  assume you had $300,000 in a bank account on the date of marriage and you just left it there until you separated.  Over the course of the marriage it earned $50,000 in interest.  If neither party had other assets or debts, you would pay your spouse one half of the accumulated interest on separation, or $25,000.  Now, assume you owned a home on the date of marriage with $300,000 equity and you still resided in that home with your spouse on the date of separation.  During the marriage the equity in the home increased to $350,000.  If neither party had other assets or debts, now you owe your spouse half of $350,000 or $175,000. In this example, you owe your spouse an additional $150,000 because your date of marriage asset was a matrimonial home rather than a bank account.

Divorce & Family Law: What Should a Homeowner Do?

It is not often that I can offer simple solutions to such a serious issue, but in this case I am please to be able to do so.  Perhaps that is why the Ontario government has ignored the recommendations of the Ontario Law Commission for the last 20 years to change this unfortunate law.  In any event, there are two ways to avoid the unfair result of this matrimonial home exception.

This first solution is to enter into a prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you can enter into a marriage contract and still accomplish the same thing.  I cannot emphasize enough that this document should be drafted by an experienced family law lawyer.

But what if your spouse refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement or marriage contract? The solution is actually more straightforward and reliable from a legal perspective.  Sell your home or vacation property after you get married but before you separate.  Once the home is sold, it can never be a matrimonial home and you will be able to preserve your equity in the property as a date of marriage asset.  Your date of marriage equity will still be preserved even if you invest the sale proceeds in another property.  This solution does not depend on an agreement the validity of which may be challenged by your spouse after separation.

For those residing in the Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa area, here are some helpful links to local resources:

Durham Family Court Clinic:
http://www.dfcc.org/links-and-resources.php

Family Law Information Centre, Oshawa:
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/organization/family-law-information-centre-flic-oshawa

本文主要法律词汇: 财产分割 Property Division 婚屋 Matrimonial Home  家庭净资产 Net Family Property

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *