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My lawyer:I get share of the house.Common-law's lawyer:I get nothing.True?

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  • My lawyer:I get share of the house.Common-law's lawyer:I get nothing.True?

    Here's my story: Moved in with my common-law husband five days after our daughter was born, just under 12 years ago. He owns the house. I had just finished university and took some time off to care for our child - I didn't go back to work until she was in school. I work part-time, make little money, and he covers all the household bills while I pay for our daughter's expenses. I have also added quite a bit to the home - I paid for almost all of the furniture that is in the house, now. I even found a fire place mantel and purchased it and my husband installed it in the house. He commutes to another city and works very long hours. Our relationship is over and we are planning to separate in the summer. I went to see a lawyer who told me that I will make a "claim in equity." She said that my staying home with our child allowed my partner to be "unfettered" - my staying home with our child allowed him to work and pay the mortgage, etc.. She said more, but the point is that I get a share of the house because of that. My soon-to-be-ex went to see a lawyer and said that's not accurate (I saw a very smart, competent lawyer with an excellent reputation) and that would have to be "fought out in court." Can someone tell if me if that's the case...? Would I have to fight that out in court (I would have to represent myself because I could never afford a lawyer) or is it a situation where it's a no-brainer that I will get a settlement, so he is best advised to reach a settlement with me outside of court? Also, I was confused as to how the settlement is determined. I believe she said that we take the value of the house today minus the value of the house on the day I moved in, subtract one from the other, and then I get half of that amount. Does that sound accurate? My soon-to-be-ex is a very uninvolved father and, I found out much later, comes from a horrible, trailer park-type family. He wants me and my daughter to leave here with nothing. Not one dine. I gave up an apartment that I had for 8 years to move in here. He said that he didn't even want to pay me spousal support and was really disappointed when his lawyer said that he would have to! This is all new territory to me and if someone could answer my questions, I would be very appreciative!

  • #2
    Leave all the ďhes a bad father and a trailer park trash dudeĒ out of it.

    Did you ask your lawyer about spousal support as well?

    You may want to look into legal aid to get a lawyer.

    Comment


    • #3
      The good news is your educated, already in the work force and your child is old enough not to need daycare. The wheels of Justice in Family Court is sloooow, their first priority is child support which hopefully he will pay without going to Court. You may have to wait it out to get spousal support while it winds its way through the system. A lump sum would be ideal to get you going until self sufficiency. That may be your bargaining chip instead of a more complicated stake in his home, which could eat up your legal fees and sanity.

      In the meantime, look for full-time work and start saving for first & lasts month rent.

      Sucks that he works out of town, and may not be able to do his share of parenting.

      Comment


      • #4
        I was just trying to paint a picture. He's not exactly father of the year material, and his family is one of the main reasons I am leaving him. They have caused me nothing but grief.

        Comment


        • #5
          You are common-law, and the house belongs to him. You don't get anything out of it unless he added your name to the title. You've lived rent-free for 12 years; that's your benefit as far as that goes.


          However, the furniture belongs to you, from the sounds of it. You've just been storing it in his house. Maybe he'll buy some of it off you and you can leave it behind for him.



          A completely separate issue: you and he both agreed that you would stay home and look after the child while he worked his long hours? Then he does likely owe you some spousal support, maybe a couple of years while you find better employment and can support yourself.


          If he wants you to continue to do the bulk of the work raising your child while he has occasional access time, then he will owe you full CS based on his income.


          Okay, so that's the black-and-white version of things.



          The grey area is that you could argue something called constructive trust (I think? Brain fuzzy right now) which means that you invested effort and possibly money into his home and should see some return on that investment when you leave.


          However, the grey area is where lawyers live, and they will happily convince you to argue back and forth until all your and your ex's money is in their hands. You can already see this by how your lawyer is telling you that you could get money from the house, and how his is saying no.


          And no matter what the lawyers say, you can CHOOSE not to fight it in court. Court is completely optional and only become necessary if you can't come to an agreement yourself.


          Propose he keeps half the furniture and pays you $X000 or some amount you consider reasonable, plus SS for a year or two, which should allow you some breathing room to find a new home and job. Or whatever you think is reasonable. If your ex is reasonable, he'll make a counteroffer, and maybe you can eventually meet in the middle.



          Lawyers and court are only needed if one of you intends to be completely unreasonable.

          Comment


          • #6
            Whats up with his family? If they start getting involved in litigation could be high conflict. They can add fuel to the fire.

            Comment


            • #7
              @Rioce: Not true. I spoke to a very competent lawyer who said that the majority of people are misinformed when it comes to common law. She said that people come into her office and say: "Her name isn't on the title! Why does she get anything?" I allowed him to work crazy shift work and earn his good salary because I took care of our child. The lawyer I spoke to said that courts are most concerned with "what's fair" and me living here for 12 years and leaving with nothing isn't fair. Period. She has a law degree from U of T, so you'll excuse me if I take her word over your's.

              Comment


              • #8
                @Kate. I fully expect his family to get involved in the litigation because they're stupid enough to think that they can beat me. They're the kind of people who know nothing at all about the world (worldview the size of a pea), yet think they are experts on any given topic. We are talking ignorant, trailer park folk - just right off the dumb scale. I'd welcome the opportunity to crush them in court.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My lawyer:I get share of the house.Common-law's lawyer:I get nothing.True?

                  If it means she can suck you dry she will tell you anything you want to hear. Lawyers get paid no matter what.

                  Theres a forum thread on common law, you may want to read it.

                  ETA: http://www.common-law-separation-can...onial-home.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I hope you have better luck than me, even getting child support. If you qualify for legal aid then your OK going through the Court System. If he doesn't want to pay you anything and has money for legal fees and a family that will encourage him to litigate instead of settle, you may be in for a rough ride.

                    Start doing a ton of research on Canlii, if you have time during the day sit in Family Court to get a feel for it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Belle View Post
                      @Kate. I fully expect his family to get involved in the litigation because they're stupid enough to think that they can beat me. They're the kind of people who know nothing at all about the world (worldview the size of a pea), yet think they are experts on any given topic. We are talking ignorant, trailer park folk - just right off the dumb scale. I'd welcome the opportunity to crush them in court.
                      wow how insulting. My parents downsized to a trailer in a park due to health reasons.

                      with your attitude why are you on this site?? You already said you believe your lawyer over people here so why waste your time?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Belle View Post
                        The lawyer I spoke to said that courts are most concerned with "what's fair" and me living here for 12 years and leaving with nothing isn't fair. Period.

                        1) The courts dispense justice, not fairness. There is a critical difference there. They follow the law, and reach a resolution. Often judges will write "this isn't fair... but" and then proceed to make a ruling that is completely unfair, but is the law.


                        2) There is an exception, when it comes to children, courts can dispense something other than justice, because a different standard applies. Equalization payments have nothing to do with children, so you won't get much leeway there.


                        3) You aren't leaving with nothing. You are leaving with spousal support.


                        4) You can possibly argue a constructive trust, but your potential legal fees might dwarf anything you get as a result.


                        She has a law degree from U of T, so you'll excuse me if I take her word over your's.
                        1) Another lawyer with a law degree said the exact opposite of your lawyer with a law degree. At least one of the lawyers with a law degree is wrong.


                        2) If you have a lawyer with a law degree, who you trust more than a forum, why bother coming to the forum?


                        3) Taking the word of somebody who expects to make thousands of dollars off of you is a sucker's bet.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The house belongs to the ex, and you don't have an entitlement to it unless you make a constructive trust/unjust enrichment argument:

                          https://www.cleo.on.ca/en/publicatio...on-law-couples

                          https://www.familylawhelp.ca/common-law-division/

                          https://shulman.ca/common-law-relati...uples-ontario/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I bet if you had a friend call your lawyer who has a degree from U of T and say her exís name isnít in the title and they are common law and her ex wants half her house that lawyer would tell your friend the exact opposite of what she is telling you.

                            If youíre going to believe everything your lawyer says I hope youíre a millionaire and have endless funds to fund this court battle. You should educate yourself on common law vs marriage. It is completely different rules. But itís okay you donít believe people on this forum, only your lawyer


                            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It wouldn't hurt for you to seek out advice from another lawyer. If you don't work or have little income you can go to Legal Aid and see what they can do for you.

                              Perhaps you are at a point in your relationship (end) when emotions run high. Instead of threatening each other with legal action perhaps try to have a discussion on what the two of you can plan for daughter's future. It sounds that you both acknowledge that the home will be sold. Something that lawyers will not tell you is that unless the two of you come to an agreement the money from proceeds of sale of home could be held in a lawyer's trust fund until agreement is reached. You have to realize, sadly, that lawyers make money when people split up and can't come to an agreement. Lawyers love it when people want to "duke it out" as this simply means: billable hours for them. Meanwhile the people involved in the dispute can't get on with their lives.

                              I think you have received some good advice with regards to getting yourself set-up so you are able to support yourself and provide a nice home for your child. Your daughter is now 12? so you aren't looking at babysitting or daycare expenses and you can now go into the workforce full time. Hopefully you can come to a good arrangement where the father will play a significant role in your daughter's life.

                              My ex and I had totally different backgrounds. However, both of our families loved us. Remember, a person can't pick their family. They are what they are. If the ex-inlaws are nasty people then all the more reason to look to get a settlement worked out sooner rather than later.

                              If you live in Ontario and you want to go to court over this be aware that it will likely drag on for several years. It is a very slow process, and it takes many months just to get to the first case conference. These case conferences are in place to encourage people to come to settlement on their family law matters which they usually do (run out of money).

                              Very small percentage of family law cases actually make it through the case conference stage and on to trial.

                              Keep the fight clean and keep an eye to the future.

                              Comment

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