A Married person posed this question. What would you do?:

I paid 50% for our house and my husband plans to change the bank for mortgage loan (lower interest rate and apply line of credit to build a garage) and I cannot be added to mortgage because I have no income now. Is it fair? We live in Canada, married.

Stick figures of a married couple smiling

You paid 50% and now you may be taken off the note?

As a wife that has gone through a divorce- this question triggered something inside me. That is not to say your husband has bad motives, certainly not, but I would want to ask the same exact question you did.

Is this fair?
I’ve put a few things here just to get you thinking from a woman’s point of view.

Canadian Home Ownership laws and Marital Property
What are the laws in Canada that would protect you if your marriage ended? The laws in your country may differ when it comes to marital property. For me, being from Massachusetts, a commonwealth state here in the US; it didn’t seem to matter who was or was not on the note because I had a long term marriage (23 years). Nevertheless, this was a divorce issue. A contested divorce at that. The judge was going to make sure it was fair and equitable. Is this the same in Canada?

What about Other Real Estate Laws?
Is a beneficiary always listed on the mortgage note in Canada as it is here? If you are taken off the note, will you lose your ability to be involved in the decision of who inherits your home?

Will this rate decrease be meaningful enough?
It’s not required to refinance to get an equity line of credit, but your husband may be trying to adjust the finances in such a way so that the monthly savings covers the cost the garage. Simple logic and more bang for his buck! However, if the savings are not going to be significant enough, why sacrifice your security?

It’s not about Paranoia, it’s about educating yourself
It may be me that sounds paranoid or jaded, and my apologies for that, but I felt compelled to answer this question based on my own marital experience. I want give you friendly advice about a few things to consider. After all, financial security is worth a whole lot more than a couple of bucks per month in savings. Particularly during a vulnerable period of unemployment.

How to say NO
If it turns out after looking into this further that you don’t feel comfortable with this idea. It is OK to say NO. The easiest way to do that is to simply and calmly state the reason of fact. Something like this: “I’m sorry, I’m not comfortable being removed from the note because it removes me from any future decision making process”.

How can you be sure you will be protected
I always recommend speaking to a real estate or family law lawyer in your province. Know your rights as well as your partner’s rights when it comes to marital assets. Whether you are on the note or not. It could be that the laws in your province are sufficient enough to make you comfortable with the idea of being removed or you could find out that this could take away your valuable decision making power.

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