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Separation and Divorce or Death of a Spouse: Property Division

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The family home

The rules about who gets to stay in the family home, and who can sell it, depend on whether a couple was legally married or living common-law.

Married couples

Each married spouse has an equal right to stay in their matrimonial home if it is in Ontario. This applies even if the property's legal title is only in one of their names or if the property is rented. This right lasts until one of the following happens:

  • They make an agreement that says one of them cannot live there.
  • There is a court order that says one of them cannot live there.
  • They sell their matrimonial home or their lease ends.
  • They get divorced.

Neither spouse can sell or mortgage the matrimonial home without the other spouse's written permission.

Common-law couples

The rules for matrimonial homes do not apply to common-law spouses. A common-law spouse does not automatically have the right to stay in the family home if it is not in their name. If one common-law spouse owns the home, they can sell or mortgage it without the other spouse's permission.