Real Estate

Markham Stouffville Real Estate Lawyers

Family law and real estate issues frequently intersect, particularly during the property division process post-separation or divorce. Property matters can be some of the most complex facets of separation and significantly impact the lives of all family members as they move forward with their lives.

Shariff & Associates offers exceptional in-house residential real estate assistance to couples during and after their separation. We ensure our clients fully understand the implications their separation will have on their real estate issues, including the family (matrimonial) home and other residential properties.

Our real estate team also offers stand-alone real estate services unrelated to family law cases. We craft tailored solutions that address the specific needs of each client and deliver results.

Residential Real Estate & Matrimonial Homes in Ontario Family Law

In Ontario, the “matrimonial home” is the property where married spouses lived during their marriage and which is owned by one or both spouses when they separate. The matrimonial home is often a couple’s largest asset, and both spouses have an equal right of possession to the house (even when only one spouse is on the title).

Under Ontario’s Family Law Act, a family can have multiple matrimonial homes. A cottage or vacation property may qualify if it meets the definition under the Act, which defines a matrimonial home as a property “ordinarily occupied” by the spouses. Ontario courts have generally interpreted this to mean a home where one or both spouses and their children regularly spend time together.

Common Law Spouses & Family Real Estate Considerations

In Ontario, the laws governing matrimonial homes do not apply to common-law partners (i.e. couples who have not been legally married). If one partner owns the family home, the non-owning partner generally has no claim to the home’s value when the couple separates. However, common-law partners may wish to enter alternative arrangements in a cohabitation agreement during their relationship.

In some limited circumstances, the non-owning partner may be able to claim they made particular contributions to the home’s value (e.g. through maintenance, repairs, mortgage payments, etc.) and, therefore, should receive a portion of any increase in the property’s value during the relationship.

Parenting Considerations & Real Estate Disputes

Couples with children face additional challenges when dealing with the family home after separation. The division of decision-making responsibility (custody) and parenting time (access) may naturally influence who retains the home. Additionally, co-parenting obligations, the children’s stability, and schools are significant considerations for the timing of the sale of the matrimonial home.

Dividing or Selling the Family or Matrimonial Home in Ontario

Because both spouses have a right to the matrimonial home, neither can sell the property without a court order or the other spouse’s consent (often in a separation agreement).

At Shariff & Associates, we create legal solutions that consider all real estate-related potential issues arising during the property division process, including:

  • Preparing consent orders or separation agreements that address entitlement to possession of the matrimonial or family home;
  • For common-law couples, drafting cohabitation agreements that set out the division of the property in the event of separation;
  • Negotiating the buyout of one spouse’s property interests by the other spouse;
  • Creating legal and real estate documents to mitigate tax consequences related to real estate transactions after separation; and
  • Preparing parenting plans that minimize the impact of a change in residence on the family’s co-parenting obligations and the children’s best interests.

Stand-Alone, Full Service Real Estate Solutions in Markham Stouffville

In addition to our family law-related property solutions, Shariff & Associates offers stand-alone real estate services to clients throughout Markham Stouffville and the Greater Toronto Area. We handle all aspects of a real estate transaction on behalf of buyers and sellers, including:

  • Drafting all documentation related to the purchase and sale of residential real estate;
  • Facilitating all aspects of the transaction, including offers, financing/mortgaging, title searches, inspections, and closing; and
  • Collaborating with any outside professionals as needed, including realtors and appraisers.

Shariff & Associates: Providing Comprehensive Real Estate and Family Law Solutions in the GTA

Real estate transactions of any type can be complex but involve unique considerations in the context of family law matters. By offering in-house real estate legal services, Shariff & Associates helps clients avoid the unnecessary delay and expense of having to engage multiple service providers. Our real estate team provides practical strategies that address all facets of selling or purchasing a family home, including during a separation or divorce.

We also offer stand-alone residential real estate services unrelated to any family law matter and assist buyers and sellers across the GTA, handling all aspects of a transaction from offer to closing.

Shariff & Associates provides full-service family law solutions and is the largest family law firm in Stouffville. We proudly serve clients throughout the Markham and Greater Toronto Area, as well as historically underserved communities, including (but not limited to) Ajax, Brooklyn, Aurora, Newmarket, Uxbridge, Whitby, Oshawa, Mount Albert, Ballantrae, and Zephyr. To discuss your family law or real estate matter, contact us at 905-591-4545 or reach out online.