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Co-Owning a House With Your Ex After Divorce

Updated: May 14

Divorce signifies a turning point, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Amidst the emotional and logistical upheavals, one question often looms large: what happens to the family home? While the traditional route has been to sell the property and move on, there's a growing trend towards a different approach—co-owning the house with your ex-spouse. From our extensive experience at Divorce is Simple, a premier divorce mediation company based in Ontario, Canada, we've seen firsthand the complexities and opportunities that come with this unconventional choice.

opening a door with key

Understanding the Why

The decision to co-own doesn't come lightly and often arises from a blend of practical and emotional considerations. Financial factors frequently top the list. In some cases, the housing market conditions may not be favorable for selling, or both parties might find it economically challenging to maintain separate residences in addition to the family home. For families with children, the desire to offer stability and minimize disruption to their lives can also weigh heavily in this decision.

Navigating the Benefits

Financial Prudence

In a volatile market, holding onto the property until conditions improve could lead to significant financial gains. Additionally, sharing the cost of a mortgage can be more economical than bearing the expenses of two separate households.

children on couch

Providing Stability for Children

The continuity of staying in the family home can offer children a sense of security during the tumultuous period following a divorce. It allows them to maintain their routines, school, and social connections, which can be pivotal for their emotional well-being.

Addressing the Challenges

Despite its advantages, co-ownership with an ex-spouse is fraught with potential pitfalls.

Emotional Complexities

Maintaining a business-like arrangement requires strong communication and boundaries, which can be difficult to establish post-divorce. Lingering emotions or unresolved conflicts can resurface, complicating interactions and decisions related to the property.

Financial Entanglement

Joint ownership means continued financial ties. This arrangement necessitates a high level of trust that both parties will meet their financial obligations, from mortgage payments to maintenance costs. It also complicates future financial ventures, as both parties' credit ratings remain intertwined.

Making It Work: Practical Considerations

To successfully co-own a house post-divorce, clear agreements and structures need to be in place. At Divorce is Simple, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Legal Agreement: Draft a detailed agreement outlining each person's responsibilities and rights. This document should cover scenarios such as what happens if one party wants to sell their share or if one party fails to meet their financial obligations.

  2. Financial Planning: Establish a joint account for all house-related expenses, contributing equally or in accordance with your agreement. Regular financial check-ins can help preempt any issues.

  3. Exit Strategy: Define clear conditions under which the property will be sold or how one party can buy out the other. Having an exit strategy is crucial for providing a way forward should co-ownership no longer be viable.

  4. Mediation Support: Engage services like those offered by Divorce is Simple to mediate any disputes or to revise agreements as circumstances change.


Co-owning a house with your ex after a divorce is a path laden with both promise and peril. It offers a bridge towards financial stability and emotional continuity, particularly for families with children, but requires a solid foundation of mutual respect, clear communication, and stringent planning. With the right supports, such as effective mediation and legal advice, this unconventional choice can indeed become a viable and even rewarding solution for navigating life post-divorce.

At Divorce is Simple, we're committed to supporting couples through the complexities of divorce, offering guidance and mediation services tailored to each unique situation. If you're contemplating co-ownership with your ex-spouse and need advice, our team is here to help guide you through every step of the process.

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