Selling The Matrimonial Home In Ontario

selling the matrimonial home in Toronto Ontario

selling the matrimonial home in Toronto Ontario

Selling The Matrimonial Home In Toronto’s Steep Housing Market

The shock factor of Toronto’s real estate market is dying down as the average price of a home has skyrocketed over the past several years. These steep prices have simply become the norm. However, aside from financing, availability and battling with foreign investors there are other issues that have risen from this ever-inflating bubble; one being selling the matrimonial home in Ontario.

Ella Aiaseh, a family lawyer at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP, said,

“Usually, matrimonial homes are people’s greatest assets.” There is a sentimental attachment, as well as a huge financial weight behind them.

“It’s always difficult because when you get an order for the sale of the home, one party sought that order but the other one obviously didn’t want it and is contesting it,” noted Aiaseh. “But at the end of the day, property rights say that if you want to dispose of your property – transfer it, or sell it – you’re free to do so.”

Selling the matrimonial home in Ontario isn’t always definite. Aiaseh explained that there can be a claim for exclusive possession under the Family Law Act (FLA). This claim can be made for several reasons such as a house that contains equipment for someone who is very ill, or a house that has been renovated to accommodate an individual who has a disability.

Selling The Matrimonial Home In Ontario & The Real Estate Dilemma

Aside from the emotional complications of trying to sell the matrimonial home, there are also financial aspects. These aspects come forth when both parties have agreed to the selling of the property and are deadset on maximizing the benefit they receive from this asset.

This real estate dilemma is forcing couples to have to throw their hands in the air and agree to sell the house, where neither party is keeping their name on the title.

“It’s unfortunate that they now have to give up a home that they lived in for so long, but that is the new trend that I’m seeing in almost all of my cases. It’s a fight, and usually, the fight just gets bigger.”

Appraisals are used as a starting point when the sale of a matrimonial home is issued. However, Aiaseh argues that “In a market that is growing almost every day, and prices are getting crazier, when you have a piece of evidence that values something retroactively it’s not an accurate reflection.”

Selling The Matrimonial Home In Ontario & Family Divorce

“In the past, what we’ve seen is one party trying to buyout the other,” Aiaseh said. However, bidding wars are drastically changing appraisals and there is no shortage of them in Toronto and the GTA.

She provided a scenario to illustrate how a buyout isn’t as easy as it once was:

“For example, if the husband owed an equalization payment to the wife where he would have to pay $200,000 – or a lump sum spousal support of $150,000 – they [the court or the parties] would set that against the price that she would have to pay him for his 50%.

“So let’s say the husband’s 50% is valued around $300,000, the wife would give $100,000 and all of her claims are dismissed. She now has the home. That’s the consideration she gets.

“However, if it is listed for a certain price on the open market, they could sell the matrimonial home for at least $200,000 over asking, and that is what we are seeing in this market. So what’s happening is: if a husband or wife wants to buy out the other person, then the other person is now losing out on maximizing the benefit received from this asset.”

Unfortunately, Toronto’s insane housing market has only added a layer of stress to an already difficult situation. Buyouts for matrimonial properties are now becoming a series of hoops to jump through, and a strenuous uphill battle for both parties who are involved. The difficulty is raised as one spouse is often forced to follow through with the event of selling the matrimonial home in Ontario, but ultimately it doesn’t matter for the party who is left to contest.

“Property rights don’t change. If you’re on the title to your property, you’re on title to dispose of it, maximize what you get out of it and transfer it at will.”

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Matthew Whittemore is a freelance writer and editor who is working alongside Hummingbird Law. Starting as an intern with the firm in 2017, Matthew has become one of the voices for the firm's corporate digital content.

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