Every married couple has a family patrimony. Upon separation, nullity of marriage, divorce or death, the value of the family patrimony must be partitioned, based on technical legal rules. For most couples, this means that following family patrimony assets must be partitioned equally: the city house, the country chalet, the furniture garnishing both homes, the car(s) used by the couple and their children, their RRSPs, their private pension plans, and their QPP contributions. Any debt contracted for the acquisition, maintenance or improvement of a family patrimony asset mut be taken into consideration at the time of partition.
Any sum which either spouse receives by gift or inheritance during the marriage, which is then used for the purchaes or improvement of a family patrimony asset, is excluded from partition, as well as the increase in value of the asset attributable to that contribution. (The calculations can be very complex!)
Finally, any family patrimony asset which is acquired and entirely paid before the marriage is excluded from this partition of values.
The Court requires each spouse to file a "Statement of the Family Patrimony (Form IV)," under oath, to set out the values of the family patrimony assets, as well as any debts related to these assets (such as a car loan, RRSP loan or home mortgage).