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Porter Ramsay Blog

Family law: If you divorce, must you leave the family home?

When a couple decides that separation is inevitable, they have many issues to sort out. Family law in British Columbia has definitive rules about assets and property, which includes the family home. Who should move out, if anyone? If the people can at least be civil to each other and finances are an issue, they may decide to both stay in the home, but if that’s not an option, they need to answer some pointed questions, such as do they both own the home? Can either person afford to keep the home? 

If both spouses own the home, neither will lose their legal right to a share of it even if one person moves out. If the home is in one spouse’s name, the other can apply to the court to protect his or her interest in the property. This also applies to couples who have been living together in a common-law relationship for two or more years. However, one spouse may be given exclusive occupancy of the home with an order from the British Columbia Supreme Court as per the Family Law Act.

If both people own the home and one doesn’t want to sell, the other may be able to sue to force the sale. A lawyer is the best person to ask about forcing the sale of a home. One spouse can always buy out the other spouse’s interest in the home.

There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in the family home that may surface during a divorce. Getting the advice of a British Columbia lawyer experienced in family law might be a wise step. There are options that might not have been considered and which a lawyer may be able to bring to light and to explain.