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Can I get a Court Order to force the sale of the matrimonial home without the expense of hiring a lawyer?

As with any Family Law matter, you are within your rights to represent yourself before the Court if your spouse or former spouse is refusing to agree to sell the matrimonial home.  While it goes without saying that hiring a lawyer experienced in Family Law and the family court system may simplify the process for you, you can certainly obtain such an order without retaining a lawyer.

There are several things you should know before commencing your application to the court.  According to the Family Law Act of Ontario, the “matrimonial home,” is the home that, at the time of separation, was “ordinarily occupied” by you and your spouse as your family residence.  The matrimonial home has special protections afforded to it under the Family Law Act.   Therefore, even if only spouse is named on title to the home, both spouses must consent to the home being sold.  No spouse may “dispose of or encumber” an interest in a matrimonial home unless the other spouse consents.

If your spouse is not consenting, you will have to obtain a court order to force the sale of the home.  The Court has jurisdiction to make this order under Ontario’s Partition Act.  The Partition Act allows the court to make an order for partition or sale of property owned by more than one party, or to which more than one party has an interest to.  Because spousal consent is required under the Family Law Act, you will also need the court to make an order disposing of your spouse’s consent under Part II of the Family Law Act.

Once you file your Application with the court, your spouse will have an opportunity to respond, and make claims of his or her own.  Depending on how your spouse responds to your Application (or whether he or she responds at all), the next steps in the process may vary.  For further information about Family Court Procedures, visit the Ontario Attorney General’s website.