Question:  I have separated from my spouse.  We continue to live in the house we own together, which is still to be listed and sold. Can I buy another home in the meantime?

Answer:  It is understandable that people who have separated want to physically live separately.  Many people also want to have what they had before, i.e. to own a house of their own.  However, in order to purchase another home, people usually need the equity in their current home. 

If that house is not listed for sale yet, it can take a lot of time to get it listed and then sold.  You never know what the market is going to be like, and how long that may take.  Even once it is sold, the net sale proceeds are typically held pending agreement of the parties or order of the court.  Those proceeds are usually held to help satisfy any equalization payment between the parties. 

If you do sign an agreement of purchase and sale to purchase another home and you cannot close because you do not have the money because you do not yet have the money from your current home, you may well be sued for failing to close on the other home.  In short, unless you can pay for another property some other way, it is best to wait until your current house is sold and monies are paid out to you before looking for another house.  

We are 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.