Who Gets the House in a Calgary Divorce? Part 1
October 6, 2016
Here at GDE Family Law, one of Calgary's premier divorce and family law firms, we frequently remind our clients that every divorce is unique. Though the same basic set of laws apply to all divorces in and around Calgary, there are more complexities and gray areas than many people realize. A full understanding of these laws and experience in handling divorces through Alternative Dispute Resolution and in the Calgary Court is essential to protecting your rights and interests in a divorce, which is why we highly recommend that anyone planning on filing for divorce or currently going through the process consults with a lawyer before signing anything.
Only an experienced, dedicated Calgary divorce lawyer will be able to answer your questions and help you explore your options during a divorce. That's why common and seemingly simple questions like, "Who will get to keep our Calgary home after my divorce?" is impossible to answer without knowing the circumstances of your divorce. Even then, the disposition of your home and of other assets and property may ultimately be up to a judge to determine—a knowledgeable divorce lawyer gives you your best chance at reaching an agreement before it comes to that, and your best chance at ensuring you get a fair settlement if Court can't be avoided.
While we can't tell you what may happen to your home in your divorce without a consultation, we can tell you the choices that are generally available and the primary things that will be considered by a Calgary judge if an agreement regarding your home can't be reached through other means.
The Court Views Your Calgary Home as a Financial Asset
The divorce laws at work in Calgary, and by extension the Calgary Court, doesn't involve itself in the emotional aspects of a divorce. Though some special considerations are given to a matrimonial residence during a divorce, it is seen first and foremost as a financial asset—the Court is concerned with the value of your home on the open market (taking into account any money still owed for your home), not the emotional value you associate with it.
All else being equal, if you or your ex-spouse wants to keep the house, you or they will have to give up assets of equal value. If you're each entitled to half the value of the home, then you will have to buy your ex-spouse's half —or they'll have to buy your half. If neither of you can afford to buy the other's half, the home will likely be sold and the proceeds from the sale split between you and your spouse. A judge might also insist the home be put up for sale if you and your ex-spouse cannot come to an agreement about who can keep the home.
Of course, it isn't always the case that both you and your ex-spouse are entitled to equal shares of the home you shared, and other factors can also impact who—if anyone—gets to keep the home in a Calgary divorce. Part 2 of this article delves into some of these issues; for insights into your unique situation, please contact our office today.
Return to News