Exclusive Possession of The Matrimonial Home

There are many elements of divorce that do not fall into a specific category but need discussing all the same. Some of these topics include issues relating to exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. This article will discuss this area of divorce and its impact according to Canadian law.

One of the biggest areas that couples come to loggerheads is when it comes to the matrimonial home. According to the Family Law Act in Section 18 the matrimonial home is defined as “every property in which a person has an interest and that is, or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and [their] spouse as their family residence”. Most of the times couples feel strongly about the matrimonial home because of the sentimental value it has. Bearing in mind that the matrimonial home is where the family may have lived together for many years and as a result, it is this property that contains most of the happy memories the couple and family have shared. That being said, it is important to know and understand your rights under the law in order for your divorce process to go ahead smoothly when it comes to the matrimonial home.

To begin with, it must be noted that neither one of the spouses is allowed to order the other out of the matrimonial home. This basically means that you cannot kick your spouse out, change the locks on the door or force them physically out of the house without a court order or by agreement. As such, when spouses are constantly arguing with one another this can be trying. However, if the parties can come to some form of agreement about who will be at the house at what times or what periods, it helps lessen the stress associated with the divorce as it proceeds.

When it comes to the matter regarding who will have exclusive possession of the matrimonial home it must be noted that both spouses have equal rights to come into and out of the house as they please. This is regardless of which spouse owns the house. However, in unique instances a judge may take away the right from one party to come and go as they please, in and out of the matrimonial home. While these instances indeed are unique, one spouse cannot get the court to kick out another spouse just to be given exclusive possession of the home. There must be serious circumstances surrounding the necessity to do so, such as domestic violence. Therefore, simply being annoyed by your spouse or that the divorce is creating a stressful situation or environment is not enough a reason to warrant being granted exclusive possession of the matrimonial home.

As such, you and your spouse may need to live together even though you are going through a divorce. If your divorce lawyer advises you not to move out it may be a good idea to get separate rooms and keep your distance.

Speak to a family lawyer for advice on uncontested divorce Ontario.

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