Divorce and The Matrimonial Home

The Matrimonial Home: Buying, Selling & Mortgages

It doesn’t matter whose name the title is in, nor does it matter if it was owned by either of you before you married.  If this is the home that you and your spouse have been living in, it is likely to be considered the matrimonial home and it will be divided between you.

The rule of thumb - the matrimonial house is going to be sold.  Sold to you, sold to your spouse or sold to a third party.  The implications of each are very different.

If you are considering either of the first two options, the key is determining whether it’s viable for either of you to stay in the family home. There are three main questions: Can either of you actually afford to keep the home? Can that person qualify for a mortgage on their own?  And, how will keeping the home affect that person’s financial future?

Remember, if you are planning to buy out your spouse, you will have to assume the whole existing mortgage as well as pay out your ex’s share of the home’s equity. Most people live in homes that require two incomes, so trying to maintain the home on half as much income after divorce is just not realistic for everyone. 

If you are planning to sell the matrimonial home, it’s really important that you and your spouse are on the same page to best take advantage of the market.  This is not the time for potential buyers to smell a divorce deal in the air.  As well, remember that your real estate lawyer will need a signed Separation Agreement in place before they can divide the proceeds of the sale of your home.  Without that Agreement, your funds will sit in trust until there is an Agreement that tells the lawyer exactly how to divide up the assets.

If you are planning to buy a new home post-divorce, here’s one simple piece of advice that is worth it’s weight in diamond studded, solid gold bricks.  DO NOT BUY another house until after your Separation Agreement is signed and in place.  You are going to need that Separation Agreement in order to qualify for your new mortgage and there is nothing that will put you in a bad negotiation situation like having to sign because your mortgage lender needs you to have it in place by next Friday in order for your new house to close.

The Common Sense Divorce has a full team of Realtors, Mortgage Brokers and Home Appraisers that are specially trained to deal with divorce.  They understand the divorce process and they know how to package a deal that works in your best interests. 

10 Matrimonial Home Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Do I or my spouse want to keep the home?
  2. Do I really want to stay in a home that comes with memories?
  3. What is the value of my home?
  4. What time of year is the best for selling this home?
  5. Can I qualify for a mortgage?
  6. Can I afford to pay that mortgage?
  7. Am I keeping the home for the wrong reasons?
  8. Can I afford to buy another house near to my children?
  9. Am I able to do upkeep and maintenance on this home?
  10. Where would I want to live if I didn’t live here?