Spousal Consent for your Home Sale

April 11, 2019

When you sell property, your Toronto real estate lawyer will require that all registered owners sign the transfer documents.   When a married couple buys a home, both parties are generally the registered owners, or on title. When only one spouse in on title, the other is most often required to sign the documents even though they are not on title.  

Family Law Act

The reason for this can be found in the Family Law Act, which affords spouses the right to possession, and continued occupancy for 60 days after the titled spouse’s death of the matrimonial home.   

When a real estate lawyer requires the signature of the spouse who does not have a registered interest on the closing documents, the lawyer is requiring that he or she provides the consent required to give full force and effect to the sale.  The right to possession of the property is relinquished and consent to the sale is provided. In the event that such consent is not provided, or such consent is not fully informed, the sale can be set aside by the court.

What is Considered a Matrimonial Home?

A matrimonial home is any property in which a person has an interest, and that was ordinarily occupied by that person and their spouse as their family residence.  A married couple may have more than one matrimonial home at any given time. For example, a family might own their year-round family home, in addition to their summer cottage property.  As long as the family uses the property as a residence, both spouses will be required to sign the closing documents, even if only one spouse is on title. If consent is not provided, the purchaser’s real estate lawyer will not accept the closing documents.

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