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matrimonial home in a divorce

Should I keep our matrimonial home in a divorce?

If you are like many Canadians going through a divorce, your matrimonial home is the most expensive asset you own. Because of this, you may be considering whether you should try to keep it in the divorce. Before you make any decisions about this property, consider a few things.

Do you want to keep it?

There are several reasons you might be thinking you want to keep your home. Maybe it’s your dream home, or you put a lot of time and love into it. Perhaps it’s in the right neighborhood, or you have children you do not want to relocate.

However, take a realistic look at what it will mean to keep your home. Will you still love it when you are the only person taking care of it? Might it tie you to old places or people you no longer have a connection with after your split? Do you want to keep it, or do you just not want your ex to have it?

Thinking about these aspects can help you get a clearer picture of whether you genuinely want to hold onto your home.

Can you afford it?

Even if you decide you do want the house, you need to determine if it is financially realistic to do so. Some of the cost-related factors you must assess include:

  • Qualifying for the mortgage on your own
  • High-interest rates
  • Whether you can meet the stress test in light of post-divorce financial changes
  • Utility bills and maintenance expenses

These details dramatically affect the affordability of a home.

Consider the other options

Keeping your matrimonial home is not your only option when you divorce. 

Depending on your financial resources and your relationship with your ex, you might consider:

  • Sharing the space [ouch!  not a great idea!]
  • Birdnesting,” where the children live in the matrimonial home while parents move in and out [also not a great idea as a permanent solution but very good for a very temporary measure immediately after separation]
  • Renting it out [now, that’s an interesting possibility]
  • Selling the house and dividing the profits [if you are joint owners.  If you are not a joint owner, you have no right to this solution.]

Every divorce is different, so considering the various options regarding how to fairly divide property can help you make decisions that are right for you and your family.

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