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MARITAL PROPERTY - Equalization or division - Contribution of parties - Duration of marriage

Thursday, April 29, 2021 @ 6:20 AM  

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Appeal by the wife from the equalization of net family property. The parties were married for four years and had no children. A substantial amount of the appellant’s net family property was derived from gifts from the respondent. The respondent was almost the sole financial contributor to the property owned by the parties during the marriage. The appellant made no financial contribution to the purchase of the matrimonial home. The trial judge declined to award the appellant an amount that would equalize the parties’ net family properties under s. 5(1) of the Family Law Act. She awarded the appellant $10,627, or 10 per cent of the full amount that would equalize the parties’ net family properties. The appellant already received $200,000 from the sale of the matrimonial home.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in finding that full equalization would be unconscionable under s. 5(6) of the Act. She correctly found the threshold for unconscionability was high and not satisfied by a finding of mere unfairness. The short period of cohabitation was relevant to whether full equalization was unconscionable. The trial judge did not err in her exercise of discretion in setting the appropriate payment at 10 per cent of the amount that would fully equalize the parties’ net family properties. She was not required to apply a mathematical formula based on the length of the marriage to determine the equalization payment.

Booth v. Bilek, [2021] O.J. No. 1013, Ontario Court of Appeal, G.R. Strathy C.J.O., D.M. Brown and B. Miller JJ.A., March 2, 2021. Digest No. TLD-April262021008