Married vs Common Law in Real Estate

27 April 2016

Everyone thinks that married legal spouses and common law spouses have the same rights. Not so in real estate.

If you are married you automatically have rights to the matrimonial home and both spouses have to sign off on any sale. However, common law spouses will not be a party to any real estate sale of the matrimonial home, no signature, nothing. After the fact, the common law spouse can argue in court that they have contributed to the household operation and are entitled to some of the sale proceeds. A better way is for the common law spouse to get their name added to the title of the property at the time of purchase. Much safer, and you avoid any legal fights when the property is sold later.

We are not marriage councilors, just realtors, but that is what we explain to all young couples buying their first property together.