If the house is in one person’s name, and they separate, does that mean that the person that has the house in their name can ask the other to leave the property immediately?

December 14, 2016

If the house is in one person’s name, and they separate, does that mean that the person that has the house in their name can ask the other to leave the property immediately?

 

  1. Yes

  2. No

 

            The answer is “No”. Prior  to  a marriage  breakdown  (which  includes  the  death  of  one spouse,  separation  with  no  reasonable  prospect  of reconciliation, and divorce), property is governed by the normal  rules  i.e. by title where it is determinable or other proof of ownership of a particular  asset.  When a marriage breakdown occurs, the question of equalize of property comes into play.   

 

            Even if a house is not jointly owned by the parties in a marriage, if they have lived there on the date of separation, it becomes a matrimonial home. A  matrimonial  home  cannot  be  sold  or  encumbered without  the  written  consent  of  the  other  spouse, regardless  of  how  title  may  be  held.  Without  written consent,  the  sale  or  mortgaging  may  be  set  aside  by  a Court. The Court has power to award exclusive possession of a matrimonial home to either spouse, including a non-owning spouse. Even if one spouse  moves  out,  until  an order  for  exclusive  possession  is  granted,  the  spouse remaining  in  the  matrimonial  home  cannot  exercise  the rights of exclusive possession, such as changing the locks.

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