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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 01-23-2006, 06:39 PM
girlzden girlzden is offline
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Default Commingling of Finances

Hi,

Does anyone have any information about commingling of finances, especially in regards to common-law relationships.

My ex's lawyers are trying to use this angle to get me to pay for her credit card debts.

I don't have a lawyer...nor can I afford one.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:45 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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I think the debts are her own unless you cosigned for the credit cards etc
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:03 AM
Julie Julie is offline
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Credit cards are more often than not, personal debts.
Unless you got the card under both names which is not likely (and you would know about it).
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:39 PM
girlzden girlzden is offline
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Default Another issue

Hi,

Thanks for your response!

What they are trying to go on is that because we had a joint account for a year and a half, where she put deposits in for the first 6 months (totalling only $2000), then stopped, then I put deposits in thereafter for the next year (totalling $20000), that this constitutes commingling of finances. And because we "commingled" here...we surely must have commingled our other accounts and credit cards.

During this time, we both held our own separate bank accounts and credit cards. Am I to pay for her personal expenses incurred on her credit cards simply because we had a joint account??

Now, another issue, I fled our jointly owned house (due to abuse) a year and a half ago. They are wanting to assess the value of the home from that day, and determine the equity from then. I am wanting them to assess the value from the day we put it up for sale. Which is the correct time??
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Old 01-24-2006, 09:28 PM
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Hi girlzden,

The rules for property division for common law situations are quite different than the rules for a married couple. Basically, in a common law situation, each party keeps his or her own property and pays his or her own debts, unless unjust enrichment can be shown.

Your ex would normally be responsible for her own credit card debts, unless somehow it could be shown that you were unjustly enriched by the debts. An example of that would be if the money owing on the credit card arose from purchases for your benefit or for assets that are in your name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girlzden
What they are trying to go on is that because we had a joint account for a year and a half, where she put deposits in for the first 6 months (totalling only $2000), then stopped, then I put deposits in thereafter for the next year (totalling $20000), that this constitutes commingling of finances. And because we "commingled" here...we surely must have commingled our other accounts and credit cards.
If that's what they're arguing, it seems a real stretch to me. And even if funds were somewhat commingled, that is not sufficient to show unjust enrichment.

Out of curiosity, how long was your common law relationship? To a certain extent that's relevant, because the longer you were together, normally the more intertwined your lives were, and the more likely one of you was unjustly enriched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by girlzden
Now, another issue, I fled our jointly owned house (due to abuse) a year and a half ago. They are wanting to assess the value of the home from that day, and determine the equity from then. I am wanting them to assess the value from the day we put it up for sale. Which is the correct time??
Similarly, the division of the house goes according to title, unless there's unjust enrichment. If your name is on title to the house as a 50% owner, you're entitled to 50% of the current equity, not the equity on the date of separation.

Your ex may argue that she paid all of the upkeep, property taxes, etc on the home and is entitled to credit for that. On the other hand, she had the benefit of the entire house, so what you owe her needs to be set off again "occupational rent" that she owes you for her using your half of the house. Getting into all of this is somewhat of a logistical nightmare, because it involves an incredible amount of work to figure out and the dollar amounts are quite small (in legal terms).

Normally in an amicable settlement, people consider this a wash. However, if she's represented by a lawyer and your not, it may be an avenue worth pursuing.

One exception to all of this may be the mortgage payments. If your ex has reduced the principal owing on a joint mortgage since the date of separation, she would normally get a credit for this, as she has essentially paid for some of your debts.

Finally, just because your ex or your ex's lawyer tells you something is the case, that doesn't mean it is! Although I doubt that they would overtly lie to you, remember that they're presenting things from your ex's point of view, and not objectively.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:06 AM
girlzden girlzden is offline
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Default Commingling of finances

Thanks Jeff,

As far as purchases made on her credit cards. Whenever a purchase was made on her credit cards, I always made sure to pay her back by making payments towards her cards. And yes, I have proof of this through my bank account statements.

Our relationship was 4 years. During that time there was a considerable amount of verbal and physical abuse directed towards my children and I. When I fled the home with my children, she changed the locks on the doors and filed a restraining order on me, claiming I was the abuser. Since leaving the relationship, I have had a chance to look at the amount of money I contributed to the relationship (full rental, mortgage and utility payments).

Now she is trying to go after me to pay 1/2 of her remaining debt ($55,000). They are using the commingling of finances angle.

Now, as far as the house goes, I have only just recently found out (last weekend), that she has been renting a portion of the house out. This was done without my consent or knowledge. How much she is renting it for is also unknown. In addition, the renter is using my children's bedroom suites!

I am going to court tomorrow morning, as I have filed a Notice of Motion, requesting proof of debt and to retrieve all of her credit card statements and bank statements.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:15 AM
sectorz sectorz is offline
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This is such a great topic and I'm so glad I found this site.

My situation is similar. I live in Ontario.

My girlfriend moved into my apartment last february, and then we bought a house together in October. I guess the relationship just moved quickly enough that I thought she deserved my full trust. Big mistake.

We jointly shared the expenses to renovate the basement to get it rentable, with her parents chipping in quite a bit as well with time and money.

The downpayment, taxes, lawyers fees--everything to move in came out of my pocket.

The house is titled in both of our names, and we have rented the basement out to help cover the mortgage, which, I am paying the rest.

All ongoing expenses with the exception of the groceries have been covered by me. (Utilities, maintenance, services, etc)

I have a feeling that this relationship may end this year. She does NOT have the income, even with the renter to pay for the house should I leave, and as far as I'm concerned, it is mostly my investment and I want to keep it.

What would be your point of view on my situation? Have I blown it by having the house titled in both of our names?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-25-2006, 07:09 PM
girlzden girlzden is offline
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Default Common-law agreement

Sectorz,

My advice for you would be to get in place a common-law agreement that outlines each individuals contributions.

It is best to do this while you are still talking to each other.
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