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What are Dower Rights in Alberta?

Here's another great video that answers a question that comes up once in a while:




ken coltman on Feb 13, 2014 11:42 AM posted:
hi I waived my dower rights on a home we lived in in Calgary,we now live in red deer ab ,would I have to waive my dower rights for this home ,which I choose not to thanks
Tom Bushey on Feb 13, 2014 12:13 PM posted:
Ken, That's a great question. While I am not a lawyer nor can I give legal advise, my understanding is that Dower Rights apply to EVERY home where all 3 situations mentioned in the video apply: 1. Only one person is registered on the property's title; 2. The person registered on title is legally married; and, 3. Either the titled owner (or their spouse) have "lived" in the property during the time of their marriage. ["Lived in" is a relative term and can mean as little as sleeping in it overnight -- just once.] The Dower Act referred to is Alberta specific and applies to Alberta properties anywhere in the province. In Alberta, it can apply to multiple properties at once and not just to the principal residence. Other provinces have similar (but not identical) Acts in place and some restrict their Act's application to only the "matrimonial home." If there is a specific situation that needs clarification, please don't hesitate to contact and speak with a real estate lawyer or family law lawyer to ask your question. Often, they will answer one or two questions without a fee. It is better to know the answer, before a situation comes up. As a caution, lawyers have specialties just like real estate agents and others. I suggest not asking the question of a "corporate lawyer" because oftentimes residential real estate law is not their specialty and they may not have the answer for you.
ken coltman on Feb 13, 2014 5:29 PM posted:
hi thanks for your quick reply, we have a lawyers apt next week, what I did not mention ,is we live in red deer and the house in Calgary has been sold, just like to know a bit before I see lawyer, so is the Calgary dower on the sold house in effect for our new house thank you
Tom Bushey on Feb 13, 2014 5:48 PM posted:
No, each dower release will be property specific.
Carol on Nov 5, 2014 3:25 PM posted:
What if we purchased the home together and then got married, does dower act work... Also my ex took out loans against the home after we split and signed the Dower Act papers as not married when taking out these loans that maxed out our home. Is there anything I can do, I live in Alberta.
Tom Bushey on Nov 5, 2014 5:03 PM posted:
Hi Carol, I just checked with the lawyer who we rely on in our team of experts to get some direction on a response. http://nwcalgarylaw.com/ Your question goes beyond mere Dower Rights, and you should consult with a matrimonial lawyer (re: Matrimonial Property Act). Sounds like the husband swore a false Dower Act affidavit. The Dower Act simply prevents a spouse from dealing with the matrimonial home without the other spouse’s consent. The Matrimonial Property Act may allow you some recourse.

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