The matrimonial home is often the most valuable asset a married couple may own. When a relationship ends in separation or divorce, determining what happens to the home can be a decision loaded with emotional and financial considerations, and it might complicate the parties’ attempts to divide their property.

Husband agreed to purchase home

The applicant of the motion was the wife, and she asked the court to allow a motion to be heard before having a case conference in order to allow her to seek the partition and sale of the matrimonial home. She also sought interim spousal support.

The parties were married in the summer of 2012 and separated in late 2019. During the time since their separation, the husband has remained in the matrimonial home. The wife had moved in with her parents on a temporary basis and had stayed there. The wife told the court that when the parties separated the husband agreed to purchase the home, though he has since failed to take the necessary steps to do so.

The mother’s urgency in the matter stems from her parents telling her she is “not welcome to stay at their home indefinitely.” She also told that court that her monthly payments of $595 per month as a recipient of the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program is not enough for her to live on, and she needs the proceeds from the sale of the home to afford a new place to live. She told the court her annual income is only $7.184 per year, while the husband’s is $52,000.

In the meantime, the father said the matter does not need to be treated with urgency. He stated that he has been maintaining the home since their separation and that he has recently served his responding material and his Financial Statements/Notices of Assessment.

Is there an urgent need to sell the home?

The court stated that the province’s Family Law Rules only allow for motions to be heard before a conference if there is a situation of urgency or hardship. Situations that qualify usually include abduction, threats of harm, or dire financial circumstances.

The importance of case conferences was also highlighted, with the court noting that every effort must be made to reschedule case conferences to allow them to proceed.

In the matter at hand, the court noted that while the parties have been separated since October 2019, it was unclear why the mother waited until April 2021 to commence her motion. The only urgency described was her parents’ statement that she could not live there forever. However, this was not found to have risen to the level or urgency or undue hardship required to skip the case conference.

The court denied the motion, instead requiring the motion to proceed normally. However, the court cautioned that the sale of the home may be an inevitability that the parties will have to acknowledge if the husband cannot ultimately purchase the home.

If you are contemplating a separation, or have already begun the process, contact NULaw in Toronto as soon as possible. Obtain experienced legal guidance and ensure that you receive a fair division of your property and assets. Contact us online or at 416-481-5604 to book a consultation with family lawyer Lex Arbesman.

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