When is a house a matrimonial home?

May 22, 2013

Law Day

I wrote a little while ago on matrimonial homes. Given the many questions I have had from clients lately, I wanted to expand on that post a little bit.

In Ontario, the Family Law Act rules state exactly when a home becomes a matrimonial home: the day you get married, if you are living there. In order to be a matrimonial home, it must be your ordinary residence. Your house could be a matrimonial home; so can your ski chalet or your cottage, as well as your winter home in Florida. Which one is at any given time will depend on what you consider it to be….as well as what your spouse thinks.

There are a whole host of family law issues that come into play if you separate, but what I am writing about today is whether you need spousal consent to sell or mortgage your house. Even if you are the only one on title, if you have spent any time living there in the past year with your legally married spouse (this rule does not count for common law couples), your spouse may need to agree to anything happening with the house. So get that agreement in place before you list it.

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About Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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