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Common law separation

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  • Common law separation

    This relates to my husband's daughter.

    6 years ago she and her boyfriend bought his grandmother's house for 120k. They each put 10k down. 2 weeks after they bought it he quit his job and hasn't worked since. He now receives ODSP. There is now about 90k owing on the house. It's still only worth about 120k, maybe 130k.

    He offered her 10k to walk away. I think his Dad is planning to help him. She could fight for a little bit more, but I'm sure the lawyers would eat up any extra. I'm concerned if lawyers get involved he could try to get SS from her. She works full time but has a low income.

    About 6 months ago they renewed the mortgage for a 5 year term. If they sell the house there would be a large penalty. I'm hoping there won't be a penalty if he takes over the mortgage.

    I warned her about SS and told her to take the money and run, and to stay in the house until he has the financial arranged.

    I just want to make sure I've given her correct advice. I did tell her she should take advantage of a free lawyer consult.

  • #2
    $10k is likely more than she'd get if the house was sold and realtor & legal fees are paid and the penalty to break the mortgage.

    Personally, I'd take the money and run. There is not much she'd be able to get that wouldn't const her more money than it's worth and/or more stress.


    • #3
      If she takes the money, my the ex sign a document that says he gives up the right for SS in the future.


      • #4
        Thanx HammerDad, I agree. She's content with the 10k... just worried that if he transfers the mortgage to himself and his Dad that there will be penalties to pay. She was going to accept the 10k and tell him he covers all legal and bank fees.

        involveddad, I thought of that, but decided it might be better to not put the idea in his head. I think his ODSP is just about equal to her wage (currently).


        • #5
          if he stays with the same bank he has the mortgage with now they may waive any fees and penalities


          • #6
            5 months later, and this problem is still a problem.

            He couldn't get any money to buy her out. She doesn't want the house... wants to sell it. She was only able to get a realtor's estimate on the house last week. He told her $160k as is (more than we expected). The place is run down and jam packed with junk. He offered to get her a dumpster to clean the place out before listing.

            He won't sign listing papers. Blames her him losing his Grandmother's house. He wants to be in the house for Christmas. She told us he has given her money monthly to contribute, but never enough to cover his half. He threatened her with going after SS from her.

            So she's still in the house. Can't take much more I'm sure. She's arranged to live with her Mom when she's ready. If she leaves, none of the bills or mortgage will get paid. The mortgage and deed are in both their names.

            I don't know how to advise her to get the house sold. She needs to get him out of there first, but he will not cooperate.

            Any ideas? I'm familiar with the divorce forums, but not the common-law forums.


            • #7
              His grandparents house. Beyond any finacial obligations, he has a real attachment and value to this house that the other party does not have. Seriously, if the situation were reversed, the other party would be arguing this as well.

              In a corporate situation we would call this "Goodwill" and it would have a legitimate monetary value as an asset.

              OK, so what do you want? What does your "friend" or "relative" want? They want to walk away and not lose anything. Fine.

              The other party doesn't want to lose anything either, and that includes their grandparents' house, which the moved into with genuine intentions of having a LTR and a family. Stop and think about what they are sacrificing here, compared to what the other party is sacrificing.

              The other party didn't have their grandparents' house, and are giving up their down payment.

              Forget court. What is each party losing here? Is it equal?


              • #8
                She wants to leave, but she has been advised from everyone to stay until the house is settled. She doesn't want to buy him out. He can't buy her out. So, they need to sell it. They will pay out the bills and split what is left equally. I understand his attachment to it, but he can't come up with the money to keep it.

                It's a stressful situation for both of them. She is broken down enough to walk away and just let him have it, but that doesn't get her name off the title or the mortgage. It has to be sold.

                So what if I tell her she doesn't have to stay? She could move to her Mom's tomorrow. How does she then deal with the mortgage and bills? He will NOT sign the listing agreement.

                She is my step-daughter.


                • #9
                  Her boyfriend...hum so this means they are not married.

                  Why would he be intitled to SS?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by paris View Post
                    She is broken down enough to walk away and just let him have it.

                    She could move to her Mom's tomorrow.

                    How does she then deal with the mortgage and bills?
                    Call his bluff on it.

                    Move out of house, in with Mom and stop making payments.

                    If the house means that much to him, he will find a way to make the payments to avoid losing it.
                    Worst case scenario...he can't/doesn't make payments, it goes into foreclosure and both of your credit ratings take a hit.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by firhill View Post
                      Call his bluff on it.

                      Move out of house, in with Mom and stop making payments.

                      If the house means that much to him, he will find a way to make the payments to avoid losing it.
                      Worst case scenario...he can't/doesn't make payments, it goes into foreclosure and both of your credit ratings take a hit.
                      She could do that, but she doesn't want to blow a good credit rating. He can make the payments... they are very low. What he can't do is get his own mortgage. That also means neither of them get any kind of a payout. Moving to her Mom's means she'll need a vehicle to get to work. She was hoping a payout (or sale of the house) would finance that.

                      Everyone has told her to stay in the house because it's considered abandonment (of the property). I know in marriage cases everyone says "DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE". If common-law is clearly different, then we'll go pack her up and move her tomorrow.


                      • #12
                        "DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE" applies when there are kids. A parent who leaves the house before a parenting schedule is agreed on is setting themself up for becoming an EOW parent.


                        • #13
                          Thanks dinkyface.


                          • #14

                            They are common-law for 6 years, after they moved into a house they bought together.
                            The house was $120k.
                            They put down equal downpayment contributions of $10k each.
                            Starting mortgage was thus $100k.
                            He quit his job 2 weeks later and got ODSP.
                            She works for about the same wage as ODSP.
                            You dont say it, but I assume they are splitting up now as otherwise this would all be irrelevant.
                            The mortgage is now $90k.
                            The house is now worth $130k to $160k.
                            This makes the asset part worth $40k to $70k.
                            My math tells me she should get $20k minimum for a buyout.
                            He doesnt pay his fair share of expenses.
                            He is unable to get a mortgage for that amount solely in his name.
                            He wants to keep the house as it has emotional meaning for him, so he is refusing to cooperate.
                            She wants her fair share of the house so she can start over, and was willing to accept as little as $10k as long as her name gets off the mortgage.

                            If this guy really wanted to keep his house, hed get his butt off ODSP and get a job and qualify for a mortgage and buy her out. If he really cant work, hed beg and plead and scrimp from friends. Hes not doing either of those things. Hes just a freeloader. She needs to take him to court and get an order that the house be sold. And she should unfortunately probably keep living in the house in the meantime and paying the mortgage, if only to protect the asset and her credit rating.

                            If she still cares about him, maybe she can work out some deal where he pays her a monthly amount of rent until such time as the mortgage is down to an amount where he CAN pay her out, but I wouldnt be holding my breath for that sort of miracle to work out.

                            BUT. It sounds like Christmas is important to the guy somehow (or hes just trying to put her off). Maybe she can get him to sign the listing papers with the proviso that it doesnt go on the market or close until the New Year. Making that offer will at least let her figure out if hes just pulling her heartstrings with that line. The bit about him not paying the bills or mortgage if she moves out is telling. That would lead him to lose the house anyways! So it sounds to me like he cares more about manipulating her with the threat of ruining her credit rating than he does about keeping the house.

                            And she can still partly move out, if its important to her emotional well-being. Get all her valuables out, that sort of thing. Lock her other stuff in a spare bedroom and just keep enough in the house to come around a few nights a week or something. She can get an old clunker car for a bit till things are finally sorted out.

                            The more I analyze this, the more I think taking him to court to have the house sold is her only option. I wouldn't bother waiting or further negotiating. Hes a freeloader who is manipulating her with the sob story about Christmas and the grandmother bit, and not taking any action to help himself. And if her salary is about the same as his ODSP, he's not going to get SS so that's an empty threat.


                            • #15
                              Rioe... you really put the pieces together.

                              They have been separated about 5-6 months, but both still in the house. She has a new guy... he sort of has someone new, but still says he wants to work things out.

                              They locked into a 5 year mortgage just over a year ago, so there will also be a penalty to pay to the bank.

                              His ODSP will increase when she leaves.

                              The realtor sat down with them both last night and he did say he felt more comfortable, but wants to look it over. The realtor suggested the option of having a closing date after Christmas.

                              Anything that is important to her has been moved to her Mom's.

                              Thank you for responding.


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