Divorce and Real Estate

What should you consider when buying or selling your home during a separation?


One of the most significant decisions after a separation is where each person will live, and whether that new home will be purchased or rented.  If the couple owns the home they live in, there are also questions about whether it will be sold or if one spouse will keep it, and how the price and sharing of the proceeds is determined.

We recommend that separating couples keep the following things in mind:

Your budget will likely change.  Consider the new expenses you will take on, and how your financial situation will change when you can only rely on your income.  Also keep in mind the expenses related to your separation, like lawyers’ fees and moving expenses, and changes to things like government benefits.

Child support and spousal support can play a big role in qualifying for a mortgage.  Understanding how support is calculated can help you navigate the financing process.  Child support can include a monthly amount plus extras for some expenses and is not taxable.  Spousal support can vary in amount and duration depending on many factors, and is taxable income. 

Because of the impact of support, you will likely require a Separation Agreement or other documentation to get financing to buy a new home. Start this process as soon as possible! Getting an agreement may take longer than you think, and if you wait too long, you may find yourself in a tight spot. 

Read more: Why you should hire a lawyer to write your Separation Agreement.

The home you live in at the time of separation is your “matrimonial home”.  There are special rules about sharing its value.  If you owned it before your marriage, you will have to share its entire value with your spouse when you separate. Make sure you understand your rights and obligations before you make any decisions.

Want to learn more?

If you're in Ottawa, attend a free seminar on April 11, 2018 to meet Jennifer Reynolds, as well as a real estate agent, Ayn MacDonald.  The goal of this event is to give you all of the information surrounding the disposal of property, before and during separation and divorce. This information will allow you to make informed choices and know your rights as you go through this difficult time. This event is free but you must RSVP here.