It is commonly understood that going through a separation or divorce is one of the most trying events of one’s life. The emotional labour and stress of a relationship ending are compounded by the process of dividing and dealing with the shared assets that had been acquired throughout the relationship.
When it comes to the “matrimonial home” there are a few ways to approach the daunting task of dealing with the place that you own together.
In the eyes of the law, marriage is seen as an equal partnership and so, generally speaking, assets that have been acquired during the marriage that is still owned at the time of the separation will need to be divided equally. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the title of the house, both are equal partners in the ownership of the home.
No option is without its difficulties, as such is the nature of separation. One of the most common ways to move forward is to sell the house, so let’s take a closer look at what this all entails.
Sell the house
The first option that many people gravitate towards discussing when they decide to split is to sell the home. The reasons are many — it makes the most financial sense for both parties, there are too many memories associated with the house, and both parties want a fresh start.
Selling the house is fairly straightforward: it goes on the market and when it sells, the proceeds are split and both people find a new place to live. It’s a clean break.
2. Deciding the Separation Agreement
Other options include changing the mortgage or deciding in the separation agreement on how to proceed with the mortgage payments. While agreements like this seem fine in the beginning, there is also a chance that one party will not hold up their end of the bargain over time. Perhaps one person moves on and into a new relationship before the other and feelings become hurt.
If one person is unable or decides to forego a mortgage payment, then both parties could be in trouble and their credit could be negatively affected. If you change the mortgage and one person takes on the full responsibility of the mortgage, they will have to qualify for the mortgage on their own.
Selling the house, if it is an option, is often the best way to move on for both parties, and it can often be done with minimal participation from the couple. It will involve hiring a realtor and there will be land transfer taxes and lawyer fees but it’s undeniable that divorces do cost money.
3. Other Challenges
Of course, there will always be challenges with every scenario. If there are kids involved, it might not be as easy to uproot, and if it takes a long time to sell, one or both parties may have to stay in the house until it does. It will depend on how amicable the split is and how cooperative people are, as well as the financial situation if it takes some time to move the house.
While selling the house might also be costly, it can be worth it to be able to start fresh. You can read more information about separation property on the BC government site or contact us for more information.