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Spousal support in common law relationships

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  • Spousal support in common law relationships


    I'm new here but have been reading the posts with a lot of interest. My husband is in the midst of a battle over spousal support with his ex. They were together for a little over six years. She did a lot of really awful things that he has proof of. She stole a lot of money from him. How does the court react to this and what will happen. She has been fairly compensated after they split but as is the case with many,it is never enough. It has turned into a vindictive thing on her part. We just want her to go away. I am from the states and only a handful of states even recogonize common law and only after 7 to 10 years. I find it ridiculous. The children should be protected but I find the three year term to be unfair at best. What ever happened to people being responsible for themselves? I realize that there could be circumstances where spousal support is justified but not after three years. I think it is up to you as an adult to look out for yourself. The current laws just seem to invite people to abuse the system.

  • #2
    For a short relationship, you are looking at .5 years for every year of marriage. So for 3 years, it would be 1.5 years.

    Entitlement is not automatic, it has to be shown. After only 3 years, it would be nearly impossible to show that a person couldn't support themselves, that they gave up their career, etc etc. The exception is cases where someone may have quit a good job and moved a great distance, settled in a strange town, etc and now how do you rebuild your life? These things have to be taken into account. Again, spousal support is not automatic, it has to be shown, so how is this unfair? if you can show a reason, it would be grossly unfair to lock someone out.


    • #3
      As I stated before, I'm from the states and we don't recognize common law except for a few states. I've lived with people and went my way when it was over. It would never have occurred to me ask someone else to contribute financially. It is what marriage is for, and when a man doesn't want to marry you, it's for a reason. So use your head and move on. I find it reprehensible that people expect other people to support them. As I stated earlier there are exceptions. I quit a job and moved across the country to live with someone, it didn't work out. I certainly didn't expect him to give me money. That's life and it stinks but one ultimately must take responsibility for one's actions.


      • #4
        Write it up as a policy proposal and submit it to your local MPP.

        I don't understand what your issue is. In 9 out of 10 cases no spousal support would be paid. In the 10 case, this is the exception, and you say you recognize that there are exceptions.

        I don't see what the American laws have to do with Ontario.


        • #5
          Well, I am confused! It is my understanding that the United States runs completely on a common law system. Canada is unique in that we are a bijural nation and civil law is the law of Quebec, common law the law of the rest of Canada. Please correct me if I am wrong but common law does not only apply in all the the United States?????

          One must remember that the laws in each individual state may be specific ( acts/statutes ) but one must also understand the concept of common law, which is why things are different depending on the jurisdiction that one resides.


          • #6
            Mom2three, there is a confusions of terms here. "Common Law" comes from England and includes unwritten law dating back 1,000 years, and partially derived from older Roman concepts. That said, as much as possible "Common Law" has been reduced over the last century as more and more legislation is passed to cover various areas of our lives. Legislation always trumps Common Law.

            Another aspect of common law is case decisions. When courts set precidents in the application of law, then this is also spoken of as common law (and really that is what English common law is derived from). Things like how likely you are to get a varience of child support based on undue hardship, this is not spelled out in legislation so we can call it "Common Law".

            In Quebec, the precidents of English Common Law do not apply in provincial courts. They base their provincial laws and interpretations and precidents on the French courts and the French Civil Code. However the law continues to evolve due to local court decisions and legislation passed by the Quebec parliament, so really as time goes by, Quebec law is simply Quebec law, the same way Ontario law is Ontario law (in provincial jurisdiction.)

            What we call "Common Law Marriage" is really two things in Canada. The Federal government recognized a Common Law Marriage after 1 year for tax and benefit purposes, however the Federal government does not have jurisdiction over marriage, so this is just for the purposes of administering a few programs like pensions.

            Marriage is the jurisdiction of the provinces. In Ontario there is no acknowledgement of "Common Law Marriage". It really can't be, if it were introduced in legislation, it wouldn't be "Common Law" anymore. The Ontario Family Law Act specifies spousal support will apply after 3 years to any couple co-habitating or sooner if raising a child. There is no equalization of assets, and no matrimonial home (although a trust can be claimed, but that is true even if you are room-mates and one person invests in the property). At one point, I think it was roughly 20 or 30 years ago, Ontario specificly rewrote the Family Law Act to clarify what were "Common Law Marriage" issues so that there really wouldn't be such a thing as "Common Law Marriage" anymore. This was the intent, as I remember from news accounts at the time, but often it is as clear as mud.


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