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My husband walked out, can he force me to sell the house?

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Anonymous Asked:

My husband left our home unexpectedly and then informed me later he was leaving us. Does his just walking away from our home relinquish his right to claim half the house? Can he force me to sell the house uprooting me and our children?

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A Family Lawyer
6 years ago

There is no such thing as abandoning an interest in the division of property or matrimonial home. There is provision in relation to leaving the home and the children behind in your care, and you should consult a lawyer if in Ontario about the Children's Law Reform Act. However, if someone is on title and walks out on the family then that person still has an ownership interest in the home. Therefore, that person would have rights to seek an order for sale of the property and do anything else that an owner of property may be lawfully entitled to do. However, the other spouse, owner or not, may have a possessory right of exclusive possession, provided the spouses are married, and otherwise that spouse would consult a family law lawyer about the sale of the matrimonial home having regard to all of the circumstances and whether it would be in the children's best interests to maintain the home or sell it. In part there is an intermingling of simple property rights and family law rights, and frankly these issues may be premature to sort out until after all financial disclosure has been exchanged. In certain circumstances, on spouse wishing to maintain possession of the home could possibly make out an argument to keep the house if for example the other spouse would owe an equalization payment because that other spouse has other assets such as a pension, investments and savings, etc. You definitely need to consult with a family law lawyer because these issues are not clear cut and simple.

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