The real estate market’s impact on divorce settlements
Because the family home is often the most valuable asset a divorcing couple has, it’s common for there to be disagreements over who should get to stay in the house. While the booming housing market and increasing property values may sound like a good thing to most, it can mean added stress and more difficult in property division for those divorcing.
Canada recognizes that both parties have an equal right to the marital home, and this is true even if the house is only in one person’s name. However, this can be problematic if the house is of significant value. There are a few different options when it comes to deciding what happens to the family home. The first is that the couple agrees that one party is to keep the house and the other party gets other assets to ensure an equitable division. The second is that the couple must split the value of the house.
This second option means that either one party must buy out the other or the property must be sold, and the profit split between both parties. The problem with the increasing house values is that it’s becoming more and more common that one party can simply not afford to buy out the other, meaning the house must be sold. The market is changing rapidly as well, which means that a house may increase in value substantially from the time of the divorce filing to the settlement, particularly if the settlement process takes several months.
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own a home, it’s important to discuss the implications and options with your lawyer as soon as possible. In some cases, you may need to have more than one done or speed up the settlement process.
Source: Global News, “How Metro Vancouver’s hot real estate market can affect divorce settlements,” Jon Azpiri, March 15, 2016
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