Aug 4, 2016

Summary of Holfield v Smith

Holfield v Smith, 2016 SKQB 140 (CanLII)
Family Law – Division of Family Property – Constructive Trust
The parties began living together in March 2009 and purchased a house together. In April 2010 the parties transferred the title into the name of the respondent. They continued to cohabit until March 2011 when the petitioner moved out. In August 2011 he commenced a claim against the respondent by filing a petition requesting division of the family home and property pursuant to a constructive or resulting trust. The respondent applied to have the petition struck or dismissed on the ground that it disclosed no reasonable claim. The petitioner admitted that as the parties were not married nor had they cohabited for two years or more, the definition of spouse in the Divorce Act or The Family Property Act were inapplicable. However, under the common law, the definition of spouse did apply and his claim was valid.
HELD: The application was dismissed. The court held that the petitioner had made out a reasonable claim. It found that the Family Law Division of Queen’s Bench had jurisdiction to hear the matter pursuant to the authority granted to it to hear family law proceedings under s. 7(2) of The Queen’s Bench Act, 1998, and particularly under s. 7(2)(t) that governs the division of property between spouses or persons who have lived together as spouses. By including that provision, the Legislature clearly intended to include the circumstances of unmarried parties who had lived together less than two years.