Q: I am married, but I have separated from my spouse. Can I ask that I continue to live alone in the home we have together while we work things out?
A: A relationship breakdown can be very stressful and involve a lot of conflict. It is understandable in some situations that someone would want to live alone, perhaps with the children, and have his or her privacy and security. If you are married, the home in which you live is considered the “matrimonial home”. You do not need to be on title for it to be considered a matrimonial home. In fact, a rental property like an apartment can be considered a matrimonial home. You and your spouse can agree, or the court can order that one of you have exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. Ontario’s Family Law Act provides for the sorts of factors the courts will consider when determining whether a married spouse should have “exclusive possession” of the matrimonial home, including, without limitation: the best interests of the children, including the effect that a move might have on them; the children’s attachment to the neighborhood; if the children are in school, and their attachment to friends; any violence committed against you or your children; you and your spouse’s financial situations; and the availability of other suitable and affordable accommodation. Lockyer + Hein LLP is a full service firm that does a lot of family law. We are happy to meet you for a free consultation about your matter at one of our three offices, including 8 Guelph Street, Georgetown, in the Lounsbury Life & Group Insurance Benefits building.