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  Ottawa Divorce .com Forums > Main Category > Divorce & Family Law > Common Law Issues

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 03-09-2006, 06:52 PM
viglnt viglnt is offline
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Hi, Just signed up. I've been reading through all the posts to see if any are close to my situation.
First the background.
We have been living together for more or less a year. Things aren't working out.
she has 2 boys 15 and 17 from her previous marriage. They also live with us full time. (their father isn't in the picture). I have 2 boys 13 and 15 from a previous marriage, I get them on weekends.
The home is in mine and my fathers name. I had the home before I met her.
I had the home rented, until we were going to move in together.
Before we moved in her brother offered to her to upgrade a few things in the house. (he is a renovater by trade). Well, they started working on it, and as they went, they were deciding to do more and more renovations. (I would come home from work, and a new thing was being torn apart). At that time I asked how much this was all going to cost, and he responded, "don't worry about it, when he needed some help with a computer he would ask me".
During the time we lived together, she would pay me 600. a month to help with household bills. we had agreed on 600 plus half of the utilities, but she never did give half for utilities. But she did buy groceries. But, I also did too, although not as much as her, since I rarely ate dinner at home anyway.
I gave her the use of my van, and I paid all insurance and maintenance on the van. She only paid for gas she used.
Now, that we are separating, she has told me her brother has invoices for 22,000 dollars for the work he did. And she wants it all back. Or I should sell the house.
Or let her live in it rent free, until the debt is repaid.
I went to the bank, and I would only be able to get a loan of about 4,000, and I told her that.
Can they really hold me to the debt of 22,000?
Thanks, I'm sorry it's a little long, any comments would be appreciated.
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:15 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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Is the $22,000 just his labour? Sounds to me like this would be a matter for the brother to take you to small claims court. You could then argue that the agreement was between he and his sister, not you. Don't know how far he'd get if you didn't have a signed contract for the work that was to be done. He shouldn't be out of pocket for any supplies he paid for. You will be the one that benefits from this as I assume it has made your home more valuable. And the home would not be 50/50 divide if your common law.
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:20 PM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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without a signed contract in place and an authorization for the work to be completed, I suspect the claim would not get too far even in small claims court.
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:46 PM
viglnt viglnt is offline
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I'm not sure that it adds 22000 to the value of the house, The bulk of the work was painting, and baseboards, put down laminate in bedrooms, and ceramic tiles in the kitchen. I would guess, it would make the house easier to sell, but I don't think it would add too much more to the value.

I want to try and do the right thing, But I can't afford no way near the money she wants back. (I also pay child support for my kids, and proud to say, never missed a payment.)
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:53 PM
Grace Grace is offline
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Nice to hear that you want to do the right thing. I'd make sure he's not out of pocket for the paint, baseboards, laminate & tiles. As for his labour, perhaps you could continue to help him with his computer. Keep on friendly terms if possible.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:43 PM
sasha1 sasha1 is offline
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I agree with Grace; friendly is best, if at all possible. I think I'd definitely consult a lawyer, though, regarding the house issue. Without a contractor's agreement in place between you and the brother, I'm wondering if she couldn't use his time and effort as an arguement in support of her potential ownership? I'm sorry; not familiar with all the terms, but I'm thinking she could claim that you and she had either an express or implied agreement that entitles her to some ownership in the home, and that her brother doing work on it without payment is evidence in support of same. You'll want to be very careful how you handle this, and I would think one-on-one with a lawyer might be a good start! Keep us in the loop, ok?
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:23 AM
viglnt viglnt is offline
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I agree friendly is best, but unfortunately, I don't think she will do that. She is either all good (if you agree with her) or very confrontational.... But that's beside the point.
And I'm afraid that most of this is going to lead to a "he said, she said" type of scenerio. I am just afraid of losing my home. I've been struggling for 6 years since my divorce, and it's sad, that a bad one year relationship may possibly wipe out all that.
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Old 03-10-2006, 06:53 PM
gooddadgoingmad gooddadgoingmad is offline
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I highly, highly doubt that any court would recognize what she is asking for. I would caution you to get an opinion from a consult with a lawyer before you make any arrangements with her. Even going to the bank to try to get $4000 shows her that you are considering what she is saying. If I were you I would not do anything at all until a lawyer advises you and certainly don't agree to anything with her yet.
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