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Things you should know about exclusive possession orders in Ontario

A primary point of contention in many divorces is the question of who will remain in the matrimonial home after the spouses have separated and until the divorce is finalized. Regardless of whose name is on the title, both spouses have a right to stay in the home, though the circumstances that led to marital strife in the first place tend to make cohabitation impossible for the divorcing parties.

A spouse going through a divorce in Ontario has the right to seek a court order granting exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. Such an order can be final or temporary, and it means that the other spouse must vacate the residence. Whether you are seeking an exclusive possession order or potentially being forced out of the home because of one, it is important to have experienced legal counsel to protect your rights early in the process.

Being granted exclusive possession does not give a spouse the right to sell the home without the consent of the other spouse, but exclusive possession can affect every aspect of a divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support and property rights.

Before giving one spouse exclusive possession, the court will consider a range of factors, including the following:

  • Whether or not there has been documented violence between the spouses
  • The best interests of the children, including how a move might affect their schooling and friendships
  • Each spouse’s financial situation
  • Whether or not suitable accommodations are available for the spouse facing the prospect of moving out
  • Whether or not there are other relevant legal agreements between the spouses

Exclusive possession is a powerful tool that can have far-reaching consequences. If you would like to learn more about these matters, then is a good place to start.

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