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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 10-11-2006, 04:38 PM
awfullawful awfullawful is offline
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Can anyone help me with this situation. This is in Ontario.
A friend is afraid to use this site as she does not feel safe in her ability of getting rid of her "History" and it may be accessed by an abusive partner.
The situation is this; her two year live-in partner inherited a piece of property and a sizeable amount of money.
He suggested they move into this "Free" property so they could live rent free, travel,renovate and eventually sell the home. He quit his job.
He gave her a diamond ring during this time and they intended to marry at some point later.
She has worked hard; painting, landscaping, taking care of the cooking, laundry etc.
She gave up a good paying job in a secure profession and 3 years of seniority. Her position has long been filled.
He put every new purchase in his name, claiming it to be easier to keep track of as he was the one who inherited the money and now did the bill paying.
He has recently begun to to verbally abuse her. He tells her to get out, that he is going to change locks etc.
He claims nothing there is hers even tho she brought furniture, paintings etc. into this relationship.
So the facts are:
1) They live in Ontario and they have been together a bit over 2 years.
2) He made what seems to me, a verbal contract.
3) They presented to the world at large as an established couple.
4) He showed intent of marriage.
5) She worked on this property and took on the role of home maker.
6) There are no children.
7) The verbal abuse is horrific and she is afraid the situation may escalate.
The questios are:
1) Does she have any rights whatsoever?
2) Is there anyway he can keep the things she brought with her and her receipts are long gone as some articles she has had for 20 years or more?
3) Can he lock her out without proper notice?
4) Can he take back the articles he gave her as gifts for birthdays and Christmas' etc.?
5) Just because he has the receipts for the gifts, does that mean he can therefore lay claim to them and take them back?
6) What advice would you give this person as in best orchestrating her leaving?
This is becoming worse in severity daily so I would be humbly grateful for a fast reply.
Thank you yet again in advance for any info.
Regards, Awfullawful
  #2  
Old 10-12-2006, 03:05 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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awfullawful,

Quote:
So the facts are:
1) They live in Ontario and they have been together a bit over 2 years.
Unless they have a child, the law is clear they have to cohabitate for three continuously in a relationship of some permanence. Being formally engaged upfront is somewhat suggestive of permanence, only if the date of marriage is scheduled in advanced. If there is no date of marriage scheduled, being engaged is irrelevant as the engagement could go on forever.

Quote:
2) He made what seems to me, a verbal contract.
It used to be a person's word and a handshake was like gold. The courts would not accept a verbal contact and it would be one parties word against the other. Moreover, your friend should of had a cohabitation agreement drawn up to the terms of the agreement.

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3) They presented to the world at large as an established couple
This is irrelevant at this point in time as they are well under the three years of living continuously in a relationship of some permanence.

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4) He showed intent of marriage.
Being engaged is somewhat suggestive of showing an intent of marriage, but unless there is date for the marriage ie: wedding halls booked, dj, date scheduled at the church, photographers etc, this is somewhat irrelevant.

Quote:
5) She worked on this property and took on the role of home maker.
It might be suggestive that the other party may have been enriched by the services of your friend, However it could be argued that your friend received free room and board for the services.

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6) There are no children.
Spousal support is not a given even after living three years. The main criteria is that one party has need and the other has means. It is unfortunate that she gave up her position, but she still has her education background to pursue an alternate position with a similar employer. This point in time they are not considered common-law for spousal support purposes and as such the claim would be dismissed.

Quote:
The questios are:
1) Does she have any rights whatsoever?
2) Is there anyway he can keep the things she brought with her and her receipts are long gone as some articles she has had for 20 years or more?
3) Can he lock her out without proper notice?
4) Can he take back the articles he gave her as gifts for birthdays and Christmas' etc.?
5) Just because he has the receipts for the gifts, does that mean he can therefore lay claim to them and take them back?
6) What advice would you give this person as in best orchestrating her leaving?
If your friend can go wait out until she passes the three year of living continuously in a relationship of some permanence, she may be entitled to some spousal support and perhaps an unjust enrichment claim for the services rendered on the property. Your friend should at least ie: pay a utility bill and get a receipt, receipts for groceries etc.

Quote:
2) Is there anyway he can keep the things she brought with her and her receipts are long gone as some articles she has had for 20 years or more?
The possessions are hers and as such the other person would have to prove that he paid for the possessions. If your friend leaves have the police present. The police will ask him to prove that certain possessions are his.

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3) Can he lock her out without proper notice?
Technically he can. The property is his and they are not common-law status.

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4) Can he take back the articles he gave her as gifts for birthdays and Christmas' etc.?
In my eyes a gift is a gift. They belong to your friend. However, I am not sure why your friend would want the gifts.

Quote:
5) Just because he has the receipts for the gifts, does that mean he can therefore lay claim to them and take them back?
As I mentioned if the party wants the stuff back, this suggests alot about his character and it may be a blessing in disguise, why would your friend want to spend eternity with this person. On the face of it, he appears to be an aweful person.

Quote:
6) What advice would you give this person as in best orchestrating her leaving?
This is becoming worse in severity daily so I would be humbly grateful for a fast reply.
I suspect the individual is up on the law and aware of the three year living continuously in a relationship of some permanence rule, hence the reason for all the recent conflict.

lv
  #3  
Old 10-12-2006, 10:19 AM
awfullawful awfullawful is offline
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Once again thank you for your reply. I hope any others in the same situation will learn something from this......ie. always have some form of agreement written, witnessed and signed at the beginning of any relationship.
It may not be "romantic" but we all know that most endings of relationships are also not romantic in the least!
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