There are no laws that specifically deal with paying home expenses after separation and before a court order or agreement. The resolution of this issue depends on a variety of factors. These include your incomes, debts, the support obligation and who is living in the home. Our divorce lawyers in Newmarket, Barrie, & Toronto can provide advice that meets the specific needs of your unique situation.
Helpful Principles for Paying Home Expenses After Separation
- If you are living in the house and your spouse has moved out, generally, you should pay the utilities and home insurance.
- Protect yourself. Don’t let a petty argument about the utilities result in a ruined credit rating.
- If you and your spouse live in the house together, you can equally share the cost of the utilities or divide it in proportion to your incomes.
- If one of you is paying more of the debts, you may decide to share the cost of utilities unequally too. You can be creative.
- Mortgage payments are treated differently than utility payments because you are protecting the value of an asset. As a result, you share the mortgage payments even if you not in the home.
- “Occupation Rent” is the money the person living in the home pays to the person who has moved out. Generally, the amount owed is the fair market rent for the home less fifty percent (assuming you own the home jointly). Often, if the person in the home is paying the mortgage (a joint debt), it is approximately equal to the amount of owed occupation rent. So, it’s awash. Our lawyers can help you consider whether someone owes occupation rent in your situation.
- Until the house is sold, sometimes the cost of the home (utilities, mortgage, insurance, and minor maintenance costs) is paid instead of support payments.
- If you are hoping to keep the home, you should hold off on doing any major maintenance or renovations. Wait until you have a separation agreement in place to ensure you will get ownership of the home.
- If you jointly own the home and are planning to sell it, you will both enjoy the benefit. Thus, you equally share any cost incurred to prepare it for sale.
- Keep track of what you are paying so it can be sorted out fairly.
In Family Court, the judges have restrictions on what they can do so consider using the Collaborative Process instead. You can creatively develop an arrangement for paying home expenses after separation that works for both parties.