Husband Refuses to Put Wife on Title

Question:

Can I sue my husband to have my name added to title on matrimonial home in Ontario?


We have been married for 41 yrs. The last two houses we owned were as joint tenants.


Because of a lawsuit our lawyer suggested I be kept off the title to limit damages.


My husband refuses to add me.

Answer:

This situation can become complicated. There are many additional facts which would be required in order to provide a correct answer.

First, with respect to the lawsuit. Yes, you can sue your husband. You will appreciate that a lawsuit will escalate matters to the point where you are really looking at termination of the marriage.

You have rights to sue:

  1. Under the Family Law Act,
  2. Under the Divorce Act,
  3. Under the law of contracts,
  4. Under the law of trusts, and
  5. Under the law of restitution for unjust enrichment.

So, you are certainly not without a remedy here!

Married for 41 years! That’s a long time. Have you gotten along well over that time period? Do you have children? Were there any prior marriages? Are there any children, yours or his, outside of your own marriage? These issues would complicate matters.

The fact that your previous two houses were held in joint tenancy suggests that this one should also be. You had equity. What happened to that? Was it rolled over?

The lawsuit presents a problem. Was this ever resolved? Is there a potential of liability in the future? Was this matter covered by insurance? Was the lawsuit involving both of you or just you?

On the assumption, that the lawsuit is now resolved, it would be reasonable for your husband to confirm your joint ownership.  However, is that as tenants-in-common on a 50/50 basis, or joint tenancy which includes the right to survivorship?

What is the actual reason for your husband’s refusal?

Since the facts which are not described here might influence the correct decision, it is actually only realistic that you retain your own lawyer to about independent legal advice on your behalf. This would be someone other than the lawyer who acted for both of you and recommended that your name not be placed on title. There may have been very good legitimate reasons for this at the time, however are they still present today?

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com

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