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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 01-11-2012, 07:03 AM
side_show side_show is offline
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Default common law specifics - different permanent address

I read through a number of documents and still have a few unanswered questions about the details of common law that directly effect me.

my girlfriend and I are considering moving in together and I want to know exactly what could/will happen in my situation.

If the questions I state below are to be directed somewhere else please let me know!

The main 2 questions I have still remain.

1) Under federal law, common law takes place after 1 year. Under provincial law (Ontario) the time period is 3 years.
where can I find a list differentiating the 2 sets of laws?

2) What is the definition of "cohabitation" when regarding the described situation.
In a situation where ones permanent address is different from the location they are living with their significant other, are they also subject to a common law union?

for example; John's permanent address is his parent's house outside of toronto, however John is renting a condo downtown Toronto with 2 friends (with John's name and one of the others on the lease). He resides in the condo, and goes home most weekends to visit family and friends. He also has a significant amount of his possessions at his parents house.

If his girlfriend moves into the condo with him, sharing a room/bed, are they subject to a common law union even though his permanent address is a different location?

does it matter if she changes her permanent address to the condo John is renting?

Thank you very much
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:33 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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i think that the permanent address is the one where you are renting the condo. Was there a lease signed with your name on it??
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:55 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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There really isn't conflict between the federal 1 year requirment and the ON 3 year requirement. It's all related to context. If you've been living together for one year or more, than federal stuff like income tax filing, GST rebates, child benefits, etc, will be calculated under the premise that you are common law.

Stuff like SS for CL relationships falls under provincial jurisdiction. If you were cohabiting for more than three years in ON, then the court will consider a SS claim.

Courts have held that two people can be said to cohabit, even though one of them maintains a separate residence.

The court will consider a number of components in order to determine whether parties continuously cohabit for the purposes of section 29. These components include common shelter, the sexual behaviour of the parties, services the parties may have performed for each other, how the parties behaved socially (i.e., did they act like a "couple" by visiting each other’s parents or going on vacation together), societal (did one person extend insurance coverage to the other), and the economic relationship between the two.

Last edited by Teenwolf; 01-11-2012 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:05 PM
side_show side_show is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by standing on the sidelines View Post
i think that the permanent address is the one where you are renting the condo. Was there a lease signed with your name on it??
you can throw your name down on as many leases as you want without changing your Permanent address .... and to answer your question....


Quote:
Originally Posted by side_show View Post
for example; John's permanent address is his parent's house outside of toronto, however John is renting a condo downtown Toronto with 2 friends (with John's name and one of the others on the lease). He resides in the condo, and goes home most weekends to visit family and friends. He also has a significant amount of his possessions at his parents house.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Teenwolf View Post
There really isn't conflict between the federal 1 year requirment and the ON 3 year requirement. It's all related to context. If you've been living together for one year or more, than federal stuff like income tax filing, GST rebates, child benefits, etc, will be calculated under the premise that you are common law.
ASSUMING NO CHILDREN TO KEEP IT SIMPLE

so basically the court will see that I am living with her regardless of my permanent address

the federal stuff is all about tax issues etc.

and the provincial is all about the property law?

my main concern is all the horror stories about friends living together and having to go to court over who gets what out of the house etc after they have broken up.

up until the 3 year mark its only my tax status that changes (nothing to ugly about people being entitled to certain things)? then after 3 years is when we'd be common law under the provincial and need to split things, deal with enrichment and support payments as if we were married? is that correct?

Thanks again!
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:34 PM
Teenwolf Teenwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by side_show View Post
So basically the court will see that I am living with her regardless of my permanent address
That's a possibility. Nothing is carved in stone when it comes to court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by side_show View Post
The federal stuff is all about tax issues etc.

and the provincial is all about the property law?
Pretty much. If you're CL, then provincial legislation deals with SS and CS too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by side_show View Post
my main concern is all the horror stories about friends living together and having to go to court over who gets what out of the house etc after they have broken up.
Keep your property, assets and debts clearly separated. Don't do anything joint. This will eliminate the grey areas as to who owns/owes what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by side_show View Post
up until the 3 year mark its only my tax status that changes (nothing to ugly about people being entitled to certain things)? then after 3 years is when we'd be common law under the provincial and need to split things, deal with enrichment and support payments as if we were married? is that correct?
Yes, you'll be deemed CL after 3 years. If ON is anything like NS, once the threshold for CL is met, you're deemed to be CL since the day you started to cohab.

CL is not the same as marriage. When someone divorces, the Divorce Act and Matrimonial Property Act apply, which pretty much gives a 50/50 split. These acts do not apply to CL. There is no division of property under CL, unless there is proof that both parties own an asset or debt. It falls under the Partition Act.

In regard to unjust enrichment and SS, it is possible for one party claim this, but the onus is on the claiming party to prove the entitlement. If you don't have kids, both of you are working and supporting yourselves, and you keep your finances/assets completely separate, then it's unlikely that such a claim would be successful in court.

You can also get a cohab agreement, which can get expensive, if you pay a lawyer to draft the agreement. You can find templates and examples online to write your own. Then just pay a lawyer for each party to get legal advice and notarize it.

Last edited by Teenwolf; 01-12-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:34 PM
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mcdreamy mcdreamy is offline
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Why don't you just have a co-habitation agreement prepared and signed?
Does your girlfriend share your concerns?
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdreamy View Post
Why don't you just have a co-habitation agreement prepared and signed?
Does your girlfriend share your concerns?
I agree. I live with my GF and I'm in the process of drafting a cohab. There's one thing that I've learned through my research though: even cohabs can be challenged in court.

I see cohabs as an extra layer of protection; it's not a guarantee.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:39 PM
giggidy giggidy is offline
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If one party of a former common-law relationship ends it prior to 3 years, but they still both live under the same roof for financial reasons, is this still considered common-law? or is it the same as a separation from a marriage? As in they both dont have to agree to it, as long as one says its over, its over?
Also, could the one party apply for spousal support when they actually split ways?
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giggidy View Post
If one party of a former common-law relationship ends it prior to 3 years, but they still both live under the same roof for financial reasons, is this still considered common-law? or is it the same as a separation from a marriage? As in they both dont have to agree to it, as long as one says its over, its over?
Also, could the one party apply for spousal support when they actually split ways?
I would say no; however, it depends on what you can prove. Off the top of my head, some things that are considered when determining CL are:

1. sharing of household expenses and responsibilities
2. sharing of parental responsibilities
3. sharing of property and resources
4. social bonds (i.e. presenting yourself in social situations as spouses or CL partners)

Now, none of these may not truly apply, but she may lie thru her teeth and make life difficult for you.

My advice: get her out of your place. But do it lawfully.
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:22 AM
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NO to everything on the list. At no point has she ever contributed to household expenses and nothing is in her name at his house. She still receives spousal/child support for her ex husband(separated) but does not have a fulltime job. Own another house together, but that should be easy enough to buy her out of her portion. Definately are not social together.
I just want her out of my life and she is being difficult because of financial reasons. I have a GF of a year and half and its stressing for both of us now.
I just want her out!

Advice? I just dont want to throw her out into the street.
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