Keeping the matrimonial home in divorce: what to consider

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Family Law

One of the biggest dilemmas facing many divorcing couples is what to do with the matrimonial home —and the current economic climate is not making that decision any easier.

For couples with younger children, it’s important to consider the effect that moving will have on them. Children have connections to the home, the neighbourhood and the school they attend. Keeping the matrimonial home can bring significant value to their lives.

But even if there are no children living at home, rising inflation and a volatile housing market are making the choice to sell or keep the family home a thorny one for many separating couples.

Before making any decisions, it’s important to first look at the value of the property. To do that, you can either: 

  • Hire an accredited real estate appraiser to value the home for sale purposes (not for financing purposes). Many divorcing couples agree to share the cost of an appraisal of their home
  • Ask three or more real estate agents to provide their opinions on the value of the home.

Creative financing solutions

After determining the value of the home, you can talk to your bank or mortgage broker about financing options. If you want to purchase your spouse’s interest in the home, you will need to find out if you can qualify for an increased mortgage on your income alone.

A growing trend involves one spouse buying out the other’s interest with money they received from their parents. Sometimes a spouse’s parent contributes money in the form of a gift or an early inheritance to allow their son or daughter to keep their home in a divorce. In other instances, they might co-sign the new mortgage for their son or daughter. 

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