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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:19 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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Default Common Law & Spousal Support

My GF currently lives with me in my home. It's in my name and she doesn't contribute to the mortgage. Her 9 year old child also lives with us. In my province (NS), we will be deemed to be common law after two years and I will have an obligation to pay spousal support.

I realize that, in NS, when a common law couple separates, each person keeps what belongs to them. And each person is responsible for payment of their own debts.

Looking forward, if things don't work out for us beyond two years, what am I looking at in terms of spousal support? I ask because it seems like a lot of spousal support cases involve a SAHM, raising the kids shared by the partners, and the guy is on the hook after the break up. However, this doesn't apply in our situation. We both work full time and will continue to do so; I just make twice as much as her. And we won't be having children together because we don't want to and it's not medically possible.

I'm not looking for specific numbers here. I'm wondering if equalization will apply between our relative incomes (as it would for a SAHM), despite the fact that we don't own anything jointly, we don't have children together, and we are both currently earning to our capacity.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:41 PM
Looking4Answers Looking4Answers is offline
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Not sure if this is going to help you but here is a link pertaining to Common law in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Common Law Property Division
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:47 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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I've read that before, so it doesn't really answer my questions. Essentially, when you take SAHM out of the equation, and therefore no claim to career stoppage, how is spousal support applied?

Thanks for the link though!
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:58 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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You g/f would have to pass the two main tests.

First prove entitlement. Meaning, she would have to show in some manner that she under-employed herself or passed on meaningful career opportunities for the benefit of the family.

Second the financial test. If she makes less thatn 40% of the households net disposable income, then she meets that threshold.

SS is guaranteed, especially where the lesser earning spouse did not suffer any financial loss for the benefit of the household.

She needs to prove entitlement by the above 2 tests. If she fails one, she may still get some based on the other...but it becomes more difficult.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:07 PM
Looking4Answers Looking4Answers is offline
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My understanding is that spousal support comes into play in a separation under the following criteria:
  1. Length of marriage or common law relationship
  2. Careers/Jobs of both parties during relationship
  3. Change in material circumstances (Due to illness or layoff, retirement would be applicable)
  4. The other party must ask for SS from the beginning of the separation.
If you have been separated for years and have an agreement or Order in place and try to get SS after that your chances would be slim because it was never initiated in the first place.

Marriage then separation is difficult enough and add lawyers to the mix, it can become hell.

Whoever initiated financial obligations for common law relationships should be shot!!

We are adults and if we have an understanding between two people that you are not to marry each other, just "live" together, then it should be viewed that way legally. What is yours is yours, what is mine is mine!! Touche pas!!

Hence why people get Prenup's but even then they get questioned and can become void in a court battle.

I'm sure there is someone on here that is in a common law relationship that has the answers as to how they have handled the situation.

Good Luck
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:14 PM
Looking4Answers Looking4Answers is offline
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HammerDad:

In Nova Scotia it is after two years that people become common law, what if they only lived together five years in total.

Why should someone have to pay when you bearly even lived together?

Its terrible if people succeed in receiving SS if you haven't been in a relationship for more than 10 years and/or had children together.

How in the world are you to protect yourself??

Just my opinion
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:15 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
First prove entitlement. Meaning, she would have to show in some manner that she under-employed herself or passed on meaningful career opportunities for the benefit of the family.
"Family" catches my attention here. While she works a busy crazy schedule, I suppose it could be always argued that she sacrificed her career somehow for the benefit of *her* child. It wouldn't be for my benefit though. To date, she hasn't passed on any career opportunities, but the next career progression for her would involve a job with a lot of travel and wouldn't be practical with the needs of *her* child. So I'm not sure how "family" would be deemed in this situation. Keep in mind that in NS, unlike some other provinces, a step-parent has no obligation to pay CS, even if the couple were married.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
Second the financial test. If she makes less that 40% of the households net disposable income, then she meets that threshold.
Net disposable income = money left over after all bills are paid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
SS is guaranteed, especially where the lesser earning spouse did not suffer any financial loss for the benefit of the household.
Did you mean *not* guaranteed? Seems to make more since in the context of the sentence.

Thanks for the info. Much appreciated!
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:21 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looking4Answers View Post
In Nova Scotia it is after two years that people become common law, what if they only lived together five years in total.
My understanding: No entitlement to SS prior to 2 years together; however, after those 2 years have passed, the time together for SS calculation purposes goes back to day 1.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:33 PM
Looking4Answers Looking4Answers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teenwolf View Post
My understanding: No entitlement to SS prior to 2 years together; however, after those 2 years have passed, the time together for SS calculation purposes goes back to day 1.
Wow, I had no idea it is applied that way in common law relationships in Nova Scotia.

My understanding in marriage is that; SS can commence as of the DOS. However, the length of the marriage can be utilized in determining the duration of how long the STBX will receive SS.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:44 PM
shellshocked22 shellshocked22 is offline
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While you have only asked about "spousal" support, be CAREFUL since you might ALSO get hit with CHILD support. Yes, even if you're NOT the father, if the court feels you've acted in a similar capacity to a father, the bottom line is you may have to pay child support (FOR YEARS !) for a child that isn't even yours !! If she gets over 60% custody (which she likely will given its not your child) you could get hit with CS even if she makes 10X what you do !

Quite frankly, while this doesn't sound "romantic"; I would get your ass out of there NOW !!!

The bottom line is that if you marry/live with (and in some cases even if you date "too long/too close" you could very get dinged with financial support. ESPECIALLY if...

a) you're male
b) there's a child involved
c) you make more than she does

You've hit all three my friend !!

Seriously, knowing what I do (now) about support laws, I will NEVER get married or live with a woman again.

Just date, keep your own place, and don't intermingle finances, etc. and even then, after you've dated for a couple of years, see a lawyer to make sure you'll protected.

You may laugh at my "paranoia" now, but it isn't so funny when you get it with BIG $$$$ in support !

Good luck
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