The Matrimonial Home
If you lived in it with your spouse at the time of separation then your home is likely what is called a “matrimonial home”. Under the Family Law Act, a matrimonial home is defined as ‘every property in which a person has an interest and that is or was at the time of separation, ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse’.
When you separate, decisions about the matrimonial home will need to be finalized, including equalizing the equity, changing the ownership title, dealing with the mortgage and perhaps even the selling of the home.
CAN I STAY IN MY HOME?
If you are married (as opposed to common law), you both have an equal right to stay in your home – even if only one name appears on the title. Since both of you have a right to stay in your home, neither of you can sublet it, rent it, sell it or mortgage it without the other’s permission. This is true even if you rent and your lease is in only one of your names.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MATRIMONIAL HOME?
When you separate, the rule of thumb is that the home is going to be sold… either to you, to your spouse or to a third party. It is important to realize that whoever keeps the matrimonial home is actually agreeing to buy out the other party and will have to pay them their half of the equity in the home as well as assume the existing mortgage. This usually means that the person remaining in the home will need to qualify for a new mortgage based on their own income. For more information on Divorce and Mortgages go to: https://www.commonsensedivorce.ca/spousal-support-and-mortgages/
CAN I CHANGE THE LOCKS?
If your home is a matrimonial home, than, under the Family Law Act, regardless of the ownership, both you and your spouse have an equal right to possession of the home. This means that even though your spouse moved out of the home, they can come back into the home and do not need to ask your permission to do so.