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Who has the right to stay in our home after we separate?

The answer to this question depends on whether you are married or common law spouses. Married spouses have different rights than common law spouses. Married spouses who separate have an equal right to stay in what is referred to as “the matrimonial home”. This is the home and you and your spouse reside in before the date of separation. Unlike married spouses, common law partners do not have a legally recognized matrimonial home.

As both married spouses have an equal right to the matrimonial home, even if your partner is the only owner of the home, they must allow you to remain in the home unless they have a court order stating otherwise.

Equal rights to live in the matrimonial home continue until there is a court order or separation agreement that outlines who shall remain in the home. It is also important to highlight that once you and your spouse legally divorce, the spouse who owns the home legally is the only spouse with rights to the home. As such, it is important to determine the legal arrangements for the home before divorcing.