Divorce and Mortgages: Legal Aspects of Divorce on Joint Mortgages in Canada

Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged chapter in life, and when it involves a jointly-owned home, the stakes become even higher.

“Navigating Joint Mortgages After Divorce” is not just about splitting assets; it’s about untangling shared dreams and financial ties. In this blog, we’ll dive into what happens to that house you once called home when a marriage dissolves. From the tough decisions to the legal nuances, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to navigate this often turbulent financial journey with confidence and clarity.Impact of divorce on a joint mortgage agreementWhen it comes to a joint mortgage agreement, the effects are undeniable and often far-reaching. Here’s a breakdown of the impact of divorce on a joint mortgage:

  • Shared Responsibility Ends: The legal and financial obligation for the mortgage no longer rests solely on both spouses. Each party must consider their individual responsibilities and financial standing moving forward.
  • Decision Time: Sell or Keep? Post-divorce, one of the most significant decisions is whether to sell the house or continue co-owning it. This decision will directly affect your mortgage situation.
  • Refinancing Challenges: If one spouse wishes to keep the home, they typically need to refinance the mortgage in their name alone. This can be challenging if their financial situation has changed post-divorce.
  • Credit Consequences: Late or missed mortgage payments can damage both spouses’ credit scores, even if the divorce regulation assigns payment responsibility to one party. Ensure that your name is removed from the mortgage if you’re not responsible.
  • Home Equity Division: In most cases, the home’s equity must be divided as part of the divorce settlement. This may impact your ability to buy out your ex-spouse or sell the home for a profit.
  • Lender’s Role: The mortgage lender is not concerned with your divorce agreement. They expect the mortgage payments to be made on time, regardless of the divorce proceedings.
  • Potential Legal Battles: Disagreements over the house’s fate can lead to prolonged legal battles, further complicating the mortgage situation. Seek legal counsel to avoid unnecessary complications.
  • Coordinating Payments: If you and your ex-spouse continue co-owning the home, it’s crucial to coordinate mortgage payments to prevent late payments or defaults.
  • Tax Implications: The tax consequences of selling the house or dividing the equity should be carefully considered, as they can impact your financial well-being.

NOTE: Mortgage and divorce laws can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, including within Canada, as provincial or territorial regulations often govern these matters. To ensure accuracy and alignment with rules and regulations, it’s essential to consult with a legal professional or mortgage advisor who specializes in family law and property matters in your specific province or territory.

Options available in Canada on joint mortgages after a divorce

In Canada, there are several options to consider when dealing with a joint mortgage following a divorce:

Option 1: Sell Your Home: Selling the jointly-owned home is a decisive step, offering a clean break and an equitable division of assets:


  • Provides immediate financial closure.
  • Eliminates ongoing financial ties.
  • Allows both parties to move forward independently.


  • The housing market conditions may affect the sale price.
  • Ensure the proceeds are divided according to the divorce settlement.
  • Seek legal counsel to navigate the legal and financial aspects of the sale.

Option 2: Purchase Your Spouse’s Share of the Home: If one spouse wishes to retain the home, they can negotiate a buy-out agreement with their ex-spouse:


  • Allows one spouse to maintain ownership.
  • Preserves the family home’s sentimental value.


  • Requires a fair valuation of the property.
  • The spouse keeping the home must qualify for mortgage financing.
  • Legal documentation must outline the buy-out terms and payment arrangements.

Option 3: Continue Splitting the Mortgage Payments: Some divorcing couples opt to continue sharing mortgage payments post-divorce:


  • Maintains stability for children, if applicable.
  • Allows time to make long-term housing decisions.
  • It may be financially viable if both parties can cooperate.


  • Requires a clear agreement on payment responsibilities.
  • The risk of disagreements or default remains.
  • Future property ownership and equity distribution need clarification.

In all these options, it’s essential to understand the financial implications and to communicate openly with your ex-spouse. Legal counsel is highly recommended to ensure your rights are protected, and all legal requirements are met.

Key takeaways:

Communication is Key: Open, honest, and respectful communication with your ex-spouse is essential throughout the process. It can lead to more amicable resolutions and fewer legal battles.Legal Expertise Matters: Rely on legal experts who understand the nuances of Canadian divorce and property laws. They can help you navigate the complexities and make informed decisions.

Document Everything: Maintain meticulous records of all financial transactions and legal agreements related to your joint mortgage and property division. These records can be invaluable in case of disputes.

Plan for the Future: Think long-term. Consider the implications of your decisions on your financial future, creditworthiness, and overall well-being.

Embrace Support: Seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups. Divorce is challenging, but you don’t have to go through it alone.

The Bottom Line

Regarding divorce and mortgages, knowledge truly is power. By understanding the legal aspects and making informed choices, you can confidently embark on your post-divorce journey, knowing that you’ve taken the necessary steps to secure your financial stability and peace of mind. The path may be challenging, but as you navigate these legal waters, you have the potential to emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.