Do you need 2 Real Estate Lawyers if you’re selling your matrimonial home in a divorce, like you each have your own Family Law Lawyers?

Often when I sell a home for clients getting a divorce, one spouse doesn’t trust the other spouse.

They fear the other spouse might try to get extra money from the sale of the house, or extra money they aren’t entitled to receive.

When you sell real estate it’s not like selling a personal item onlinewhereby a Buyer would pay you with a cash, cheque or eTransfer.

Real estate transactions must go through a real estate Lawyer.   

The real estate Lawyer reviews property Title, discharges mortgages and receives funds from the Buyer’s Lawyer.

Funds are transferred from the Buyer’s real estate Lawyer directly to the Seller’s real estate Lawyer electronically. 

In some cases a spouse might have such distrust for their spouse, that if the spouse insists on hiring a particular real estate Lawyer, the other spouse becomes suspicious.

What if your spouse chose the real estate Lawyer of their choice, and you feared the real estate Lawyer would issue him/her a cheque after the funds from the sale of the home were received by the real estate Lawyer?  

Your spouse could possibly hide the money, deplete the funds, or never give you your share.

Well, that’s not quite how it works.

Firstly, the funds aren’t held in the  lawyer’s personal or general bank account. They’re held in a “TRUST” account.  

Trust accounts are protected if anything happens to the lawyer.

Furthermore, “Trust” account holders (Lawyers & real estate firms) MUST account (to the penny) for every single transaction in/out of the account. There are regular audits. 

Heres the advice I give every client to ensure they’re protected. 

It’s perfectly fine to choose one real estate Lawyer. 

In fact, it would be redundant & no advantage to hire two real estate Lawyers.   

It only take one person to review papers and discharge mortgages.

And the funds received from the Buyer’s Lawyer wouldn’t be transferred to two different Real Estate Lawyers for the Sellers.  

If the funds are going to one real estate Lawyer anyways, here’s what you can do!

Once you’ve chosen a real estate Lawyer,  send an email (notice that’s a written trail) to the real estate Lawyer, and ‘cc’ your own Family Lawyer or Mediator.

Ask the real estate Lawyer to “replay all” confirming receipt. 

Your email is to advise the real estate Lawyer that this home is a matrimonial home being sold as a result of divorce.

Advise that all funds received from the sale are to remain in TRUST until there is either a;

  • Court Order submitted to the real estate Lawyer, or
  • A finalized Separation Agreement provided to the real estate Lawyer, signed by both spouses, and both Family Law Lawyers. 

If you want more information about getting a divorce in Ontario check out my full divorce page.

If you’re getting divorced and want to talk more about the unique aspects of selling a matrimonial home in divorce please don’t hesitate to call me.