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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 10-30-2006, 12:01 AM
ifeelduped ifeelduped is offline
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Unhappy Long story, please be patient and help if you can

My user id says it all, I feel like I have been duped; here is my story:

Background
Originally we shared an apartment for a few months until I got my own apartment. We remained a couple but had our own places for the next year and a half of our relationship. I then decided to buy a home since I had 2 kids from my marriage who were with me every 2nd weekend, and I wanted a bigger place for them when they visited.

So I bought a home and took out my first mortage in my name (and title). My girlfriend moved in shortly afterwards. I paid the mortgage and all the bills, she gave me some money to help every month. We had no kids, no joint accounts, and both had full-time jobs.

Things went south and we amicably decided to be apart. She decided to buy a condo but did not much of a down payment. She argued with me that I should pay her back any money she ever gave to me to cover monthly costs at the house while she lived there, "since I got to keep the house". I thought she was unreasonable since she would have had to pay expenses if she had been living on her own. Frustrated, I gave in to her demands and wrote her a cheque for 20k which was every penny she ever gave me.

We continued to see each other occasionally and she tells me that if we never get back together again, she still wants to have a child on her own, and asks me if I would consider being a sperm donor. I think this is a little weird and I remind her that I had no plans to have anymore children. She completely knew all during our relationship, that I had no interest in more children. However, she was completely obessesed with having a child; see deep rooted emotional issues later.

Well what do you think happens next... she magically becomes pregnant. I guess the pill that is 99% effective, no longer works when someone desparately wants a child and her future of having one on her own seems poor. I am dumb struck at this point, my family sees it as an obvious case of her purposely getting pregnant. I feel I do not want to look like a loser who abandons a woman when he gets her pregnant. I also do not want to have my second failed realtionship weighing on me. So what do I do...?, I offer to help raise the child and she sells her condo and moves back in with me. By the way, she keeps very penny she gets from her condo sale and I never see any of the 20k I gave her when she first moved out.

Next 1 1/2 years, back together in my home
The baby is born and she picks his first and middle names (says has had them picked out for awhile), and here is the kicker... the baby does not get my last name, not even both our names hyphenated, just hers. I do not know what to say when she requests this and I don't want to cause a big issue.

We live 1 year in my home together with the baby and she stays home full-time to care for him and chooses not to work. After visiting friends who live in a small country town, we decide the real estate costs are cheap and it a nice place. So we go for it, I sell my home, take the equity I put into it (~230k) and buy a gorgeous home for 100k less then my big city home sold for. I again, think I am doing the "right" thing when my real estate lawyer asks about who's name goes on the title (I am with her at his office at the time) and I say both names. Afterall, I would be a selfish, $%#tard if I said "Well it is just my money going into the home, so just put it in my name"... wouldn't I?

Zoom to the present day
3 years 5 months later (in the new home) and here is our present situation:

- I am a senior IT consultant and earn a very good income but it comes with a lot stress, hard work, long hours and weekly travel. For the first 6 years of my career I was a full-time employee of a consulting company and after that I started my own company.

- I continue to pay 100% of the mortgage, utilities, and home maintenance

- my "partner" has worked from home part-time as an employee of my company for the past 2+ years (she does remote admin work for her former employer, as a contractor through my company)

- her monthly part-time work generates an average of $2,000 per month in company revenue before corporate and personal taxes

- I pay her a monthly salary as my employee of $3,000 per month; this money is used by her for food and clothing for her and our son, and and incidentals; her monthly budget she created shows she needed $1,500 per month

- I have worked hard to pay down my mortgage over the last 3 yrs, 5 months. I started with a 215k mortgage (after using the 230k equity from my first home) and am down to 78k left. I have spent at over 100k on renos and it is now valued at ~600k. I have no other debt whatsoever.

- My partner on the other hand, has her own credit cards and bank accounts that I have nothing to do with. About 1 year ago, she told me that she had accumulated at 10k balance on her credit card, even though I pay all the bills and she gets a salary of 3,000 per month and she budgeted 1,500 in expenses. She tells me she is going to manage her money better and hopes to have it paid off within 8-12 months. She also complains that she can't save for her retirement like I do, although her 3,000 monthly salary less the $1,500 she budgeted should net her a surplus of $18,000 per year. I forgot to mention that I pay any income tax she owes.

- To make matters worse, my partner has grown obese over the last few years (she has struggled with an eating disorder since she was a teenager). She has been seeing a therapist who specializes in eating disorders for over a year now, and since then has ballooned up even more. I estimate she is 250 lbs and stands 5 ft 4 maybe. I am 6 ft and 185 lbs. She has a gym in the house that she does not use, a gym membership several times that she did not attend, and a personal trainer.

- In the last month, my "partner" informed my that she planned to get "lap band" surgery. Although, she has no savings that I know of, and a big credit card debt, she decides it is the only solution to her obesity problem and proceeds against my wishes for a $16,000 surgical procedure. I have no idea how she got them to do it upfront without getting the money. Recently she told me she has been trying to get a line of credit at the bank with no luck.

Our son-
Our son was her magic solution to a lot of deep rooted emotional problems of hers, and she coddles him like a no other mother. She sleep has slept with him most of his life and continues to do this today; he is now 5. She rarely goes to bed with me anymore and if she does, once I fall asleep while she is watching TV in bed, she gets up to go sleep with our son.

By the way, I love my son (like my other 2 kids) with all my heart, and tell him that all the time. I pick up my other 2 kids every second weekend and they stay with us. I know it does not sound like I am much of a father with all my travelling, but my friends and family often tell me I am a great dad. I guess I focus on quality of time and not quantity.

My (in)sanity
Although I pay for a bi-weekly house keeper and that just barely keeps our home liveable. She leaves her stuff all over the house, clothes are not put away, dishes piled in the sink, fridge smells foul. I am embarrassed to have people over. I have told her how much it bothers me, but she makes hardly any effort. On the other hand, anyone else who gives her praise, she does anything for. Here is a recent example of what she will do to get "praise" from others:

She held a party for our son and 7 of his 4-5 year old friends for Halloween. She spent at least 2 weeks buying things to decorate the inside and outside of the house (remember she has no money). She spent 2 days baking and getting ready for the party. I did not even know about the party until the day before. Surprised, but trying to help, I went out and bought beer and wine for the parents only to find out that there were not going to be any adults there. She told all the parents to just drop off their kids and to go have a good time by themselves, she would handle everything!

A few hours before the party, I asked her if she would clean off her papers and file folders that she had strewn all over our formal dining room and she refused. I bought the formal dining room set about a year ago, and most of the time it is covered in junk of hers. She has a separate reading room in the house she could use, and her own desk and filing cabinet, but can't since they are also covered in junk. I feel like I am living with a emotionally underdeveloped, messy teenager, who has no love or respect for me.

Want to move on
I have tried hard to make this work but feel I have wasted a lot of good years trying. Life is too short to live like this.

I feel I have been such a sucker with my home and finances. I do not want all of my years of hard work to pay for a home and manage some savings to be chopped in half by someone who I feel manipulated me into getting back together. Five years ago, I paid her back every penny she ever gave me when we first lived together. Then she got pregnant and I took her back in. I bought the new house and busted my butt to pay for everything. I cannot believe she should benefit from that.

I totally accept the fact that I need to provide child support for my 5 year old son (I have always done this for my other 2 kids). In addition, I have been saving for his education since he was born and would continue to do this. But I cannot accept that she has a "right" to more than that.

I need some good advice from people who know, what my rights are.

Sorry for my long sob story but I need to try to paint a complete picture. It was therapuetic writing it I am sure. At least I have a good overview for my lawyer that I am now searching for.

Sincerely,
I feel duped
  #2  
Old 10-30-2006, 07:18 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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ifeelduped,

welcome to the forum,

the first you have to do is sort out and isolate the issues.

The issues will be custody, access, child support, spousal support, and sharing of the home as both are on title.

Custody and Access

If your in Ontario, Both parents are equally entitled to incident's of custody, so in other words, Both parents have coextensive custody of the child unless a separation agreement or court order provides otherwise. When the parties separate and the child lives with one parent, the authority to act is suspended for the non-custodial parent but not ended. However, access survives. Access includes information bearing on the health and welfare of the child.

In a custody adjudication, incidents of custody and access are determined by applying the best interest test. Bond and stability are critical factors along with whom was the primary caregiver etc.

Child Support

Child support is the right of the child and as such, the child support guidelines are applied to determine same. On occasion, child support may be less depending on the custody regime of the child. If a shared custody regime is the result then an offset amount of child support would apply by considering each parents respective income and what each parent would pay the other and subtracting the difference.

Spousal Support

Spousal support might be an issue. If one party has need and the other party has means. In Ontario, the rule is live continuously for a period of three years or have a child together and live together in a relationship of some permanence. I suspect you may be in a position to provide spousal support to assist the other party to become financially independent.

The Home

Since both parties name is on title, I suspect any equity in the home would be shared.


lv
  #3  
Old 10-30-2006, 11:21 AM
ifeelduped ifeelduped is offline
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Default Thanks, some "real" questions now...

Thanks for your help.

I have the following questions:

1. What about the 230k equity I used to invest from my first home (where I had sole title) into the new home with joint title? Should this equity I invested not be mine alone?

2. What about the fact that she had a child without my consent when we were apart? Does my suspicion that she got pregnant on purpose as a means of trapping me, mean anything?

3. Does the fact that we only "live" together 6-7 days a month due to my weekday travel have any bearing on our status? How about the fact that we do not sleep together? What constitutes a real relationship?

4. If I have no choice but to provide her some "winfall" in the form of my home equity, and support etc., can I agree to a single lump some amount with her and be done with it? I would like to have a single payment that would take everything into consideration (home equity, child support, spousal support, etc.) and never have to deal with her again financially.

5. If this went to court would a judge take anytime to examine the circumstances to assess whether her purposeful pregnancy when we were apart, was her attempt to trap me into a relationship and long-term financial support? I got a vasectomy a few months after she got pregnant since I was so freaked out by what had happened. Also, would the judge care that I told her many times that I did not want anymore children?

6. Finally, I had a difficult separation from my marriage when I was young and was always nervous about a repeat performance and its impact on me financially again. Whenever I discussed this with my current partner, she insisted she was not like that and stated "I do not want your money" and "I never wanted your money". In a court of law under oath if she admitted saying this, does it have any bearing on spousal support or division of property?

Thanks again. I believe that these divorce laws are made so that people get treated fairly and no one gets "shafted". But under the circumstances, I cannot imagine how the letter of the law can be applied here when there is such a major imbalance in the fairness. I tried to do the "right" thing and provide a home for her and the new baby that I did not want. I could have easily walked away five years ago but did not. Now, that my "home" life is miserable, I am on the hook for a small fortune and I must give it to someone who does not love me or has not acted like my partner for the last 3-4 years.

Every fibre in my being tells me this is wrong, and that the justice system is going to fail me.
  #4  
Old 10-30-2006, 06:05 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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ifeelduped,

as you mentioned

1. What about the 230k equity I used to invest from my first home (where I had sole title) into the new home with joint title? Should this equity I invested not be mine alone?

Perhaps. You would need to have a paper trail to prove this claim and only then your only at the mercy of the court. Reason being it appears you have a situation on your hands where by you may have a "trust law case" scenario. The reason I say that is at law your both are co-owners of the property and absent without some type of contract that provides otherwise, you may have to share the equity of the home equally.


Quote:
2. What about the fact that she had a child without my consent when we were apart? Does my suspicion that she got pregnant on purpose as a means of trapping me, mean anything?
You would have a difficult time to prove your suspicions as it is heresay. Women become pregnant all the time either planned or by accident. What is important that a child was born as a result of the relationship and as such, Both parent's have an obligation under the law to support this child.

Quote:
3. Does the fact that we only "live" together 6-7 days a month due to my weekday travel have any bearing on our status? How about the fact that we do not sleep together? What constitutes a real relationship?
Each parties principal residence is the home. Your requirement for travelling is work related. I suspect the court would see you as common-law for spousal support purposes.

Quote:
4. If I have no choice but to provide her some "winfall" in the form of my home equity, and support etc., can I agree to a single lump some amount with her and be done with it? I would like to have a single payment that would take everything into consideration (home equity, child support, spousal support, etc.) and never have to deal with her again financially.
Yes, you could make an offer by way of engaging in a separation agreement, the law provides for same. However, when it comes to child support, which is the right of the child, the reasonable stance is periodic table guideline amount based on ones income plus section 7 guidelines extra ordinary expenses shared prorated to reflect each parent's respective income.
Be aware, the neither parent has no right to bargain away the rights of the child. Any clause for lump sum child support in a separation agreement could easily be set aside by a court in future litigation.

Periodic spousal support amounts to the terms of a separation agreement or court order has an tax advantage, where as lump sum spousal support is not tax deductible. A general rule of thumb is that spousal support is to come from income rather than capital.

Quote:
5. If this went to court would a judge take anytime to examine the circumstances to assess whether her purposeful pregnancy when we were apart, was her attempt to trap me into a relationship and long-term financial support? I got a vasectomy a few months after she got pregnant since I was so freaked out by what had happened. Also, would the judge care that I told her many times that I did not want anymore children?
You would have to prove your suspicions, and attempting to do so, you could spend thousands trying to prove same, The bottom line is that there is a child, your child that requires your support. Have you considered a DNA test to prove otherwise? DNA testing costs about 700 to 800 nowadays and is 99.9% accurate. If DNA determined the child was not yours, your ex may have some explaining to do and it gives your claim a little more weight.

Quote:
6. Finally, I had a difficult separation from my marriage when I was young and was always nervous about a repeat performance and its impact on me financially again. Whenever I discussed this with my current partner, she insisted she was not like that and stated "I do not want your money" and "I never wanted your money". In a court of law under oath if she admitted saying this, does it have any bearing on spousal support or division of property?
Without a cohabitation agreement in place, is that it boils down to your word against hers. If a court cannot believe either, often a trial is held to determine credibility of each party.

lv

Last edited by logicalvelocity; 10-30-2006 at 10:53 PM.
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