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MARITAL PROPERTY - Equalization or division - Considerations - Constructive and resulting trusts - Matrimonial home

Monday, June 05, 2017 @ 8:20 AM  


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Appeal by the wife from the dismissal of her action against the husband and his mother, in which the wife sought an equalization of net family property and an interest in the former matrimonial home on the basis of a resulting, implied or constructive trust. The parties married in 1997 and separated in 2006. They executed Minutes of Settlement in March 2007 pursuant to which the wife transferred her interest in the matrimonial home to the husband. The settlement provided that any transfers or payments made pursuant to the agreement would remain valid in the event of reconciliation. The parties reconciled in May 2007. The wife received a disability payment of $135,000 from her insurer in August 2007. She deposited it into the husband’s bank account and he used the funds to pay household bills. In 2010, the husband transferred ownership of the former matrimonial home to his mother. The parties separated again in 2013. The judge held that the 2007 Minutes of Settlement precluded any future equalization payment and that the wife failed to establish any trust interest in the former matrimonial home.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The judge was not obliged to permit the wife to amend her claim to include a request to set aside the settlement because she made it clear several times that she was not challenging its validity, but only the husband’s compliance with it. She put forth no facts to suggest she entered into the settlement based on non-disclosure or a lack of understanding of it, and no other circumstances existed to justify the judge exercising his discretion to set it aside. The agreement was clear in stating the parties’ intention to exclude all future property from equalization. There was no evidence that the wife transferred any of her insurance monies to the husband’s mother, such that she had a trust interest in the former matrimonial home that the mother owned. Having failed to put forth a claim for a beneficial interest in the husband’s property, the wife failed to establish an intention to retain a beneficial interest in the insurance funds.

Ernikos v. Ernikos, [2017] O.J. No. 2185, Ontario Court of Appeal, D.H. Doherty, M.L. Benotto and G.T. Trotter JJ.A., May 1, 2017. Digest No. TLD-June52017002