Raising the Bar on Foreign and Extra-Provincial Marriage Contracts: Torgersrud v. Lightstone and the “High Threshold” for Ousting Equalization Under the Family Law Act

  • February 07, 2023
  • Rebecca Winninger

Equalization of net family property does not involve dividing assets – only the value of assets. Ownership of property does not change hands through equalization.

Since the Ontario Family Law Act (“FLA”) was enacted, courts have had to grapple with the effect of a foreign or out-of-province marriage contract that addresses ownership of property during the marriage and in the event the parties separate. Do these contracts oust a spouse’s right to equalizationTorgersrud v. Lightstone, 2022 ONSC 7084 (CanLII) is a recent decision that addresses this question.

After a two-day focused hearing on the wife’s entitlement to equalization, the court held that her claim could proceed. The parties’ Quebec marriage contracts did not prevail over Part I of the FLA.