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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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  #1  
Old 06-06-2013, 01:34 AM
phaydra phaydra is offline
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Hello all,

this is my first post. my issue is this. I was with my partner for ten years. in year 7, my parents gave me an early estate payout of 100,000.00. My partner and I used this money to purchase a house. The house and mortgage are in both our names equally as joint tenants. Before we moved in, my partner spent two months renovating the house, and we moved in soon after. we have no children. I have health issues, and am currently on a disability pension. My partner gave up his career after 7 yrs of working to take care of me, and from this point forward he had little income (some part time jobs) and i made all the mortgage payments, while he looked after me and the house. In year 9, he inherited 30,000.00 and used 2/3 of that money to replace the roof and do upgrades to the house. Now we are separated, and he wants half the house, even though I've made all the mortgage payments, and the down payment came from my parents. Is he entitled to half the house? He is claiming because he did all the house work, renos, improvements to the property, as well as sinking his inheritance into the house that he is entitled to half. who is right? I believe that because i got the money from my parents that the house is mine, but he says my money was intended for both of us, and he is on both title and mortgage. help!
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:22 AM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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were you married??
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:27 AM
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Depends on the province you are in, and most importantly, as has been asked, whether you were married or not.

IF you were married, he's entitled to half the net marital assets, which includes the house.

If you were not, it's slightly more complicated, but the end result is that he has a claim on some of the value due to his inheritence + the value of the reno work + the resulting increase in value from that work.

You may have a claim for occupational rent if you were making the mortgage payments after that time. I'd be careful, he could go after you for spousal support if your income is greater than his, given he gave up a career to care for you.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:52 PM
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Interestingly, if you were married, and he did not put a single penny into the house, and you bought the house entirely with your own money that was brought into the marriage by you alone... he would still be entitled to half of the house.

It is incredibly unfair, but justice has never been the mandate of family law.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:32 PM
phaydra phaydra is offline
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we were not married. how could he come after me for spousal support? We were 50/50 the first 7 yrs, and then when we bought the house i began supporting him. even with my disability pension i make over three times as much as him, but because of my health issues surely they wouldn't make me pay? wouldn't my health issues give me more claim to the house? he can work, i can't.
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:26 PM
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So if I understand correctly.

This guy worked and paid 50/50 for 7 years, until you fell ill.
This same guy quits working to take care of you fulltime when you became disabled. Dumped his inheritance into the house.
Reno'ed it for a couple months.
You make 3 times as much as him.
You dont feel spousal support is warranted.
You feel that you should have a larger stake in the asset split because of your disability?

Have I summed it up in a nutshell?
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:40 PM
DowntroddenDad DowntroddenDad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cashcow4ex View Post
So if I understand correctly.

This guy worked and paid 50/50 for 7 years, until you fell ill.
This same guy quits working to take care of you fulltime when you became disabled. Dumped his inheritance into the house.
Reno'ed it for a couple months.
You make 3 times as much as him.
You dont feel spousal support is warranted.
You feel that you should have a larger stake in the asset split because of your disability?

Have I summed it up in a nutshell?
I don't disagree it sounds like she is taking advantage,l but they were not married, so the house is not automatically split 50/50.

Here is an appropriate cite:
4 myths about common-law relationships - Canada - CBC News
In Ontario, “There’s no such thing as matrimonial property in these relationships,” said Justice Brownstone. “We use the law of constructed trust to protect people’s property rights, so if you’ve been living common law and you’ve been contributing to a home that the other party owns – either because you paid for renovations or because you were the one maintaining it – you can make a claim for property.”
Brownstone added that this is not in any way based on the same kind of principles as being married. Rather, he said, “It’s based on the law of resulting trust. We use trust law to protect common law property rights.”

I would suggest that she consider at a bare minimum giving him the $20,000 in cash, a fair amount for the sweat equity involved in the renovations, and a fair amount for the increase in value of the house due to his work. Seems to me the value of his time on the reno would be at least the same as the money he gave up from his job, so if he was making $1000 a week before he quit for her, then assess the labour at $1000 per week he worked on the renos.

As to spousal support, clearly more difficult since they aren't married, but this would be a case where clearly he sacrificed his income and career for her, so I would think a case could be made.


Same website:
According to Justice Brownstone, spousal support for Ontario common-law couples is possible if there were “economic consequences” to the break-up. If one person in the relationship supported the other person regularly – or, for example, one person had to give up their career in order to care for a child — then they could be entitled to spousal support.
“If you live together three years and don’t have kids, you are treated as a spouse for support purposes,” said Brownstone, but stressed that “spousal support is not that common.”

So there you go Phaydra.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:31 PM
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Legally, if his name is on title, he's half owner, and it's half his. So yes, I think you do owe him half the value in exchange for getting his name off the title. As you are not married, and the down payment money came solely from you, there is wiggle room, but he also invested money and effort into the house, and deserves some return on his investment when he moves out.

Make him an offer of $30k or something so he recoups his investment and his labour, and see if he accepts.

Or you could get into some complicated math. You put $100k and he put $20k so offer him half the increase in value over the course of your marriage minus $120k, plus his $20k back. He might like that number better.

It's all about making offers to him that he might accept to avoid going to court where a judge will likely make you pay him his 50% share.

And yes, spousal support is a very real possibility, since he gave up his career for the relationship. His income, should he even find new employment, will not be what it should be had he not stopped working to look after you, and he is legally entitled to support from you to compensate for that. You should argue that it be limited to the same number of years as he was not working. You could negotiate him getting more equalization in the house in exchange for not paying him spousal support. Or the other way around.

Be flexible, but also be fair.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:36 PM
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I got totally screwed - matrimonial property. Equalization did not take this into consideration. I live in Alberta.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:45 PM
phaydra phaydra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
I got totally screwed - matrimonial property. Equalization did not take this into consideration. I live in Alberta.
he got half the house?? my mind is reeling! how could this happen! im sick he's not! if he went out and got more jobs he could up his income, but he's claiming only minimal earnings for last years taxes. i think he's hiding money.
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