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Belle 04-26-2018 09:56 AM

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!

rockscan 04-26-2018 10:46 AM

Leave all the “hes a bad father and a trailer park trash dude” 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.

kate331 04-26-2018 11:09 AM

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.

Belle 04-26-2018 05:34 PM

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.

Rioe 04-26-2018 05:40 PM

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.

kate331 04-26-2018 05:49 PM

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

Belle 04-26-2018 10:39 PM

@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.

Belle 04-26-2018 10:43 PM

@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.

rockscan 04-26-2018 11:07 PM

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

kate331 04-27-2018 04:56 AM

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.

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