Certificate of Pending Litigation (CPL) in Ontario Family Law

 Certificate of Pending Litigation

In the realm of family law in Ontario, Canada, a Certificate of Pending Litigation (CPL) plays a pivotal role as a legal instrument. It serves to safeguard the interests of one party embroiled in a dispute over real property. This is how it operates, providing a sense of security and fairness in the legal process:


A CPL is filed in the Land Title and Survey Authority against a piece of real property’s title. It indicates that the property is currently the subject of litigation and that ownership might change due to the ongoing legal proceedings. This document was previously known as a lis pendens.
Significance in Family Law: In family law cases, a CPL plays a pivotal role when there is a dispute over property ownership between separating or divorcing spouses.

For instance, if one spouse owns the property, the other may file a CPL to safeguard their interest during litigation.Protection: The CPL, when filed, ensures that potential buyers or lenders are fully informed about the ongoing litigation. This notice is not just a formality but a crucial step in maintaining transparency and fairness. It acknowledges the dispute and the potential for ownership change before the property is sold or mortgaged, effectively securing the claiming party’s interest until the dispute is resolved.


Once a CPL is registered, it becomes a part of the property’s title, alerting all interested parties that the property is involved in litigation. This could impact the property’s marketability and the owner’s ability to make transactions involving the property until the litigation is resolved or the CPL is lifted. It’s crucial to be aware of these implications when dealing with a property under CPL. In summary, a Certificate of Pending Litigation (CPL) is a vital tool in Ontario family law to protect a party’s interests in a property dispute by informing potential buyers and lenders of the ongoing litigation and possible changes in property ownership.

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About the Author:
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM

I assist intelligent and successful couples in crafting rapid, custom separation agreements that pave the way for a smooth transition towards a secure future. This efficient process is achieved in about four meetings, effectively sidestepping the excessive conflicts, confusion, and costs commonly linked to legal proceedings. Clients have the flexibility to collaborate with me either via video conference or in-person through a DTSW associate at any of our six Greater Toronto mediation centers, located in Aurora, Barrie, North York, Vaughan, Mississauga, and Scarborough.

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