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Ontario

Common Law Ontario
The definition of what is common law in Ontario depends on what legal right is at issue. Each Ontario statute defines common law differently, so you could be considered common law for one purpose and not for another. In this article, I look at what family law and estate law rights and obligations a common law partner has. If the article doesn’t answer your question, please feel free to ask for more information in the comments.

Spousal Support (Alimony)
In Ontario, spousal support (also known as alimony) is only payable to a “spouse.” A spouse can be a common law partner, so living together with someone can eventually give rise to an obligation to pay spousal support, even if you are not married.

In Ontario you are considered to be a “spouse” once you marry. If you and your partner are living common law, then you will be considered a spouse for spousal support purposes if you and your partner have cohabited for three years; or if you and your partner live in a relationship of permanence and have a child together. Section 29 of the Family Law Act requires that the cohabitation must be continuous, so if you’ve broken up for a period of time and then gotten back together, this may affect whether you are considered a spouse.

Once a common law partner is considered a spouse for spousal support purposes, they have the same rights and obligations regarding spousal support as if they were married. The entitlement and amount of spousal support will depend on factors like:
* your income and your spouse’s income,
* your assets and your spouse’s assets,
* your age and your spouse’s age,
* your health and your spouse’s health,
* the standard of living when you lived with your spouse,
* your ability to become self-sufficient,
* the contribution you made to your spouse’s career, and
* the economic hardship suffered by you arising from the breakdown of the relationship.

You can get a rough idea as to the amount and length of spousal support here.

Property Rights
Unlike a married spouse, a common law partner in Ontario has no right to seek an equalization of net family property (a division of assets). Each person keeps what is in his or her name. Joint property is shared equally and sold if necessary to divide the proceeds.

If one person is not satisfied with this result, they can make a claim for what is known as unjust enrichment or a claim for a constructive trust. These types of claims tend to be complex, difficult, and uncertain.

Best Practice – Don’t pay for things unless your name is on title. For instance, don’t make half of the home payments unless your name is on title to the home.

Unjust Enrichment
There are three elements to a claim for unjust enrichment:

1. Enrichment. One party has been enriched due to his or her partner’s effort, work, or financial contribution.
2. Deprivation. The other party has suffered deprivation, normally by sacrificing time, money, future prospects, and so on.
3. No Legal Reason. There was no legal obligation to provide the enrichment.

Constructive Trust
What is a constructive trust? A trust just means that one person holds legal title to an asset, but he or she is holding it for the benefit of the other. So, for instance, although your common law partner may be on title to the home, part of it really is owned by you.

The “constructive” part of “constructive” trust just means that the trust is implied by the court, rather than specifically set out in a legal document. The court will may imply this if you have made contributions to the asset. So, for instance, if you contributed financially to a home by paying part of the mortgage, property taxes, repairs and upkeep, or contributed by building an addition, and so on, a court may find that you have a constructive trust in the home.

Matrimonial Home
Ontario gives the matrimonial home special status for married couples. For instance, under the Family Law Act, you get a credit for any asset you bring into the marriage, but if your brought the matrimonial home into the marriage, you do not receive this credit. However, for common law couples this special treatment does not exist. The matrimonial home is treated similar to any other property, which means that when a relationship ends, whoever is on title gets the home. If both parties are on title, then the home is split equally. If a couple cannot decide what to do with the home, a judge will often order it sold and then the proceeds are split.

As well, the Ontario Family Law Act grants special possessory rights to the matrimonial home to married couples. Under this regime, both spouses have an equal right to remain in the matrimonial home regardless of who is on title. As well, one spouse cannot sell or mortgage the matrimonial home without permission from the other. This does not apply to common law partners. For common law partners, you only have the right to remain in the home if your name is on title. So, when the common law relationship ends, if one partner is not on title to the matrimonial home, they can be evicted.

Child Support & Child Custody
Your rights and obligations regarding child custody and child support are the same in Ontario regardless of whether you are married or common law.

Estates
If you are in a common law relationship, you have no property rights regarding your partner’s estate. So, if your partner dies without a will, you are treated as a complete stranger. To some extent, you can get around this by seeking dependent’s relief, which is essentially a form of spousal support from an estate.

Health Care
If you become unable to make your own health care decisions, and you do not have a power of attorney for personal care, a spouse is able to make these decisions for you pursuant to the Health Care Consent Act. Under this act, your common law partner is considered a spouse if you are in a conjugal relationship and either (a) have cohabited for at least one year; (b) have a child together; or (c) have entered into a cohabitation agreement together.

What if My Partner or I is Still Married to Someone Else
Oftentimes, people separate and start a new relationship with a new partner without getting a divorce first. However, the fact that one or both partners is still legally married to a third party does not affect common law rights in Ontario.

Am I Cohabiting?
When you think of a common law couple, you may think of a couple living together as if they were married, only without a marriage certificate. The reality is that there are a wide variety of types of common law relationships. There has even been the odd case where a couple that is dating is considered common law in Ontario. To determine if you are common law, Ontario courts look at the following factors:

1. Shelter – did you and your partner live together;
2. Sexual and Personal Behaviour;
3. Services – did you and your partner help each other the way a traditional family would;
4. Social – did you and your partner portray yourselves as a couple;
5. Societal – how did the community view your relationship;
6. Economic Support – was one partner support the other financially, or were your finances combined?; and
7. Children – did you interact parentally with each other’s children?

Here is a sample of cases that have been decided using these criteria:

Cohabitation was found in the following cases:

(a) Hazlewood v. Kent, [2000] O.J. No. 5263 (Ont. Fam. Ct.)

The parties were the parents of two children. The father worked in one community but spent his weekends at the mother’s residence. The father had a room at the mother’s residence in which he kept things of a personal nature. The mother cleaned the father’s room. The parties had discussed marriage and had jointly met with a financial planner. The father had named the mother on an application for extended health benefits through his employment. The parties spent their weekends together sharing common activities as a family. The father had given his coworkers the telephone number of the mother in the event that he needed to be called on weekends. The parties had considered marriage.

(b) Thauvette v. Malyon, [1996] O.J. No. 1356 (Ont. Gen. Div.)

The parties began an affair while both were living with other partners, seeing each other 2-3 times each week. After three years of the affair, Thauvette left her spouse and moved into a home owned by Malyon and for which Malyon continued to pay all of the expenses. A year later Malyon also left his spouse but the parties chose to maintain separate residences to keep the children apart and to facilitate Malyon’s access to his children. When Thauvette moved out of the home provided for her by Malyon, Malyon helped her with the purchase price of another residence with an advance of $30,000. Thauvette helped Malyon on a regular basis with his farming operation, working with the animals and doing domestic chores. They spend 4-5 nights each week together during this period of their relationship.

(c) McEachem v. Fry Estate, [1993] O.J. No. 1731 (Ont. Gen. Div.)

Following the death of their respective spouses the parties commenced a relationship that lasted for 15 years until the death of Mr. Fry. While they maintained separate residences and pursued some of their own interests, they spent the bulk of their free time together including at least two nights each week at the other’s residence. They socialized as a couple in public. They took annual vacations together each year. Ms McEachern did domestic chores at his house and he paid for maintenance items at her house. He provided clothes for her costing at least $2500 annually. He bought her a fur coat. He provided for her in his will. They were known as a couple within the community and were faithful to one another. They celebrated their “anniversary” each year.

Cohabitation was not found in the following cases

(a) Obringer v. Kennedy Estate (1996), 16 E.T.R. (2d) 27 (Ont. Gen. Div.)

The parties had a twenty year, intimate, exclusive relationship, that included sexual relations, holidays together, gift exchange, personal services and joint friends and acquaintances. Cohabitation was not found however, as there was no common residence and they were financially independent of one another.

(b) Nowell v. Town Estate 1994 CanLII 7285 (ON SC), (1994), 5 R.F.L. (4th) 353 (Ont. Gen. Div.)

The parties had a 24-year affair, maintaining separate residences. Town was married and living with his wife at the time and Nowell knew of her existence. The parties were together most weekends at his farm/work studio and did some work together. They maintained separate residences.

Questions?
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below in the comment section. I try hard to answer all questions promptly.

513 comments on “Ontario

  1. My x-wife is living common for 6 years i pay support amount of $123,000 the 6 years of living common law is that the same as marry with her partner ? and do i still have to pay support still

    • administrator on said:

      @Douglas – spousal support does not necessarily end just because someone gets married or lives common law. You need to look at your court order or separation agreement to determine whether spoual support can be reduced or eliminated.

      • my sister lives in toroton a single mother .after checking below criterias , i found actually she and the father are not Cohabiting. however , she has already filed a custody application to toroton family court in 2011 , which brings her a lot of trouble as the man using the father title to manipulate her and threaten her . can you please advise what she shall do to ? withdraw the custody case , and file a non cohabiting case ? to where ?
        1. Shelter – did you and your partner live together- (she was forced to accept the man moving into her aparment after pregnant and stayed there from 2003 to 2005 )
        2. Sexual and Personal Behaviour;-( sexual is not out of her willing , sex behavour has been under the extreme violence circumstance )
        3. Services – did you and your partner help each other the way a traditional family would;-( no , she worked and paid all the bills including child expense )
        4. Social – did you and your partner portray yourselves as a couple;-( no )
        5. Societal – how did the community view your relationship;-(strange relationship )
        6. Economic Support – was one partner support the other financially, or were your finances combined?; -( she paid everythign herself even whent the man stayed at her apartment )
        7. Children – did you interact parentally with each other’s children?-( the pregnancy was occured during the sexual assault , later the man forced her to put his name as father on the birth ceritificate . she has taken care of the chidl herself , the man/the father han not paid andy child support and taken other responsibility )

    • After what length of time is my ex’s new live in boyfriend considered to be in a common law relationship for the purposes of reducing the spousal support I pay her? And how would I go about proving the length of cohabitation?

  2. johnny arnone on said:

    …I am surprised not more couples opt for the common-law status!

    • administrator on said:

      @johnny – living common law is definitely a trend. From Statistics Canada: “Between 2006 and 2011, the number of common-law couples rose 13.9%, more than four times the 3.1% increase for married couples.”

  3. Brian Spackman on said:

    My and i are separated and our agreement states, if she enters into a “common law” relationship, she is no longer entitled to spousal support. is this legal, and enforcable ??

  4. Hi. My common law partner and i just split. she took all my money and kicked me out after hitting me. She also threatend to take me to court for child support for her daughter which is not mine. Can she do that and what can i do to get my money back so that i am not on the street till my next pay.

    • administrator on said:

      @jeremy – A lot of issues in your situation, and you really need to get a lawyer as soon as possible.

      She took all your money – I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. I assume that she emptied out your joint bank account – is that correct? This highlights one of the problems with joint accounts. While you are legally entitled to half the money in a joint account, it can take time and effort for you to get that back. In the meantime, use credit cards or borrow money from friends and family until you get paid again.

      She kicked you out – if the property or lease is in her name, then she is entitled to do this. If your personal possessions and furniture are still at her place, you have a right to collect them.

      She hit you – this is something that you should report to the police.

      Child support for her daughter who is not yours – Stepparents may be required to pay child support. To determine if child support is payable, the court looks at the details of your relationship with her daughter to see if you “stood in the place of a parent.” If you did, you are liable for child support.

      • Is there something you can have each person sign to protect your self from this situation before moving in with each other?

        • administrator on said:

          @Angie – Yes, a cohabitation agreement.

          However, child support is considered the right of the child, so you are not permitted to contract out of that.

          • well I’m in a situation after2 years living together,i have a15 yr old from previous relationship.my partner has asked my to sign a cohabitation contract, staying that i can’t touch his pension, or his house (in his name) that he is NOT an acting parent to my daughter (which he is) and i cannot ask for spousal support.
            What are my options and what am i entitled to? Also this contract states that we have only been living together since sept 2013, when he bought this new house..when we have been living together since sept 2011.
            I feel like i am being set up..
            Help please!
            Y.

      • I am been married for almost 3 years and before I reach the 3 years of being married I send to my husband a letter from my lawyer that I want to persuade separation. We had lived in my home, this home was given to my from my decade husband. My question is my husband entitled to, if we just been married such a short period of time? Do I need to share my home with some one that has’n put any effort or money in to? Also I want to add that right know he is working but his contribution is minimal, also the first year of marriage he was’n working and I was paying for everything at home.

  5. Hi, I would like to ask a question about common law relationship. If our situation is qualified for common law relationship, shall we go for a lawyer or authorized organization to get a certificate or proof of the common law relationship? If it is yes, where we can go for the declaration? Thanks so much.

    • administrator on said:

      @Olivia – Marriages have marriage certificates. However, there is no equivalent documentation for common law relationships.

  6. Coale mousseau on said:

    I need the form that allows me to prove we are common law. Thanks.

  7. can i ask a question here? i was with a woman from September of 2009 to june of 2012.Are we considered common law. during that period i purchased a house and sold it she was not on title.We moved in 2012 march and purchased a house togeather.i put the down payment on the house and we split up in june. during this period of 4 months she did not pay anything on the mortgage or other bills, nor did she for the previous years.
    i renovated the house so we could live there and she put nothing into it.she now wants 20k to release her name on title or will stall the sale of the house in January on closing. we were not togeather for 3 years so can she actually get this settlement?

    • administrator on said:

      @Brett – It sounds like your ex owns half the equity in the home. This is not because you lived common law, but because her name is on the title to the home. There may be defences you have against this, but they have nothing to do with family law. You need to find a lawyer with expertise in contract and restitution law.

    • I have additional question here,

      A friend of mine has been with her bf for approx. 3 years, they resided in his home for most of this time and she paid “rent” so to speak and helped with bills, they then moved into a new home together, that has just been put under his name. She helped with the down payment and has contributed to renovations that have been done to the new home. She continued to pay monthly into mortgage and bills. She has found out he has been unfaithful to her and is leaving but doesnt want to lose out on all the money she has contributed to this home, they have only lived in the new home for approx. 5 months but again did live together for approx. 2 years prior to this in the previous home.

      what can she do???

      • administrator on said:

        @Amber – If your friend’s name isn’t on title, she has no interest in the home. If she wants to get any money from the equity of the home, she would need to make a claim for unjust enrichment.

  8. if one is living with in a common law relationship, can be considered as family?
    (status is living with family)

    • administrator on said:

      @zainab – I’m not really sure what you are asking. Let me know more details. Most people would consider a common law relationship a family. Perhaps this has something to do with immigration?

  9. Very good post. I’m facing many of these issues as well..

  10. Sonya Paterson on said:

    Hello. I lived with a man for 2 years. We separated for approx. 6 months and we agreed that I would move back with him, but not as a common law relationship. I need to apply for assistance from Ontario Works in Ontario in order to pay my own bills.By law, will I be considered living common law, since we use to live together,as such.I believe Ontario Work will try to say that He should support me and that I cannot receive any benefits from them for myself.I am researching the laws and will contact their office,but I know I should have some Acts or Laws to back my position. If you have any cases or information that may help me I would appreciate it very much.

    Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Sonya Paterson

    Haliburton, Ont.

  11. If my partner is receiving benefits through his work and we’ve been sharing a residence for over a year, am I not eligible to share them for 3 years?

  12. DA Dunlop on said:

    I have been with the same woman for 4 yrs. Only living together on weekends because we live 1.5 hrs apart Would this be considered a common law relationship
    Thanks

    • administrator on said:

      @DA – To determine this, one would need to look in great detail at all the facts of your case. However, I can say that couples have been found to be cohabiting notwithstanding the fact that they have separate residences. A couple who lived together only on weekends was found to be cohabiting in a case called Hazelwood v. Kent. There is no mechanical test that can be applied to your situation. You need to go through the 7 factors listed above under “Is My Lifestyle Considered Common Law?” and consider each one.

      • Brenda on said:

        My address is the same as my commonlaw partner for over a year and a half now..I board Monday to Friday where I work as it is a distance. I am working he is retired.. I gave up all of my furniture..apartment etc.. to live with him. He is a widower and my name is not on the ownership of his home which I consider ok. What I am wondering is …if I want to move back and out of this horrible relatiionship…to what am I entitled to ?
        I am assuming maybe some help with my new apartment ..refurnishing etc.. I have a job..don’t want anything else..

        • administrator on said:

          @Brenda – You are entitled to keep what is yours. 1 1/2 years is not long enough for an entitlement to spousal support. You could still try to negotiate help for moving out – often it is in the best interests of both parties that this happens sooner rather than later.

      • Lorraine Silva on said:

        I met someone from Texas move in split bills everything in half but there’s a big problem everything in the house furniture,tvs (new)he pay for !Now i been living with him for 3 years now his family think of me as a stranger his sister and children. Now this may sound cold but iam down here by myself (72 years) If my common law -husband should pass away do they have a right to come in my house and take everything away ? One more thing we buying a new car together i dont drive but we are making payment together and can his children take the car too?

  13. Kevin Druce on said:

    Are you Common law if you live together for less than a year and the child is not the biological offspring of the male?

  14. Does it need to be exactly three years to be entitled to support? What if it is a month or two shy?

  15. Denis Pellerin on said:

    what of other rights in a common law relationship such is death benefits, and any other benefit that would be expected if married?
    My common law wife and me have joined our lives 23 years ago and have always called ourselves and made it known to others that we were husband and wife.

  16. Esther Bejarano on said:

    i have a question.
    if i bought a property with my boyfriend (we have been living together for 6months) does that mean i am in a common law relationship ?

  17. Msferns on said:

    The girlfriend has moved in with the man for convenience…. instead of paying $700 for a basement apt., it was decided she move into his condo townhome and she pays him that rent. In the meantime she also helps him when needed to see to his daughter when the child is with him. She is attending college during the day and on the week-ends works for her pocket money.

    Should this turn out to be a common-law relationship, i.e. if they are still together after 3 years under the Ontario law, could she claim any part of his home on which he only is on title, his RRSPss or maybe even “support” after the relationship ends?

  18. Gail Woodward on said:

    Do common law spouses have the right to sue for the other partner’s RRSP if they cannot show that they contributed any of their money to the plan.

    • administrator on said:

      @Gail – yes, they can claim unjust enrichment. For instance, they can claim that they made contributions, either financial or otherwise, to the family that allowed their partner to save money to contribute to their RRSP.

  19. Marius truta on said:

    If myself and my fiance we lived together for 18 months with 4 months in between where we were broke up then get back together ,do I have to provide spousal support and child support for her child ,which has different natural father than myself ?

    Thank you

    Regards
    Marius

    • administrator on said:

      @Marius – For there to be an obligation to pay spousal support, you would need to have cohabited for at least 3 years continuously.

      Child support obligations are not based on the amount of time you have cohabited. Step-parents can be required to pay child support. To be liable for child support, you would need to have acted in the role of a parent to the child.

  20. That doesnt make sense i had to claim common law after 3 months, not years!! So why does thissite say its years?

    • administrator on said:

      @Dan – Different laws determine legal rights of common law couples differently. The article here discusses family law rights and estate law rights in Ontario.

  21. This is going to be very useful for me thank you very much for posting

  22. Your post was very informative thank you for that

  23. IBRAHIM F MOHAMED on said:

    can i be guided to know law in joint family if mother ,father or other son wife are trying to make life hard for wife of second son.

    • administrator on said:

      @Ibrahim – I’d need to know a lot more about your situation to help. But ultimately I’m not sure that’s a legal matter – perhaps a counsellor could help her come up with coping strategies for difficult relatives.

  24. Rick Dellanno on said:

    Just one question.if the girlfriend or partner.has slept with another man while still together as common law.any legal binding contract.

    • administrator on said:

      @Rick – Sorry to hear about your situation. Just as an affair doesn’t affect the legal status of a married couple, an affair doesn’t affect the legal status of a common law couple.

  25. What is the date, source and authority of this article?

  26. Hazaifa on said:

    Hi, I just want to know my parents have been married for 30yrs or over and they got married back in India now they don’t have a marriage certificate , they are still together all they need is a marriage certificate. They couldn’t get one from back home so how can they apply for a marriage certificate here? Can I please get some help on this issue … Thank you

  27. I’ve been living common law for 6 years paid money for mortgage and bills do I get anything back I have nothing house in her name and I paid cash and paid for renos also what do I do

    • administrator on said:

      @Ted – Depending on your circumstances, you may well have a claim for unjust enrichment. If all your payments were made in cash, so that you have no documentation for them, it really becomes a matter of credibility – whether a judge believes that you made the payments.

  28. DAVID PYLYP on said:

    It was explained to me in detail that a Constructive Trust needs to proven to get relief from the courts.

    There must be a written Co Habitation Agreement – Otherwise a Common Law Spouse can simply be tossed out with no equity even though a HUGE contribution was made.

    David Pylyp
    Toronto

    • administrator on said:

      @David – A constructive trust is one possible way that courts deal with common law relationships.

      I agree completely with you – a cohabitation agreement is the way to go. It can provide certainty and protection for both partners.

  29. Amanda Mitchell on said:

    Hi, My boyfriend and i have lived together for over 3 years. He bought a home in Florida under his name and promised me that he would take care of me. I gave up my job to move down there with him. The relationship became extremely abusive and my mother had to send me a plane ticket to come home on Friday MKarch 29th to escape the abuse. I came home to find out that he had not paid my car insurance as promised, he had not paid my storage fees, my bank account was closed and in arrears of almost $500.00. I currently am homeless, jobless, have no source of income and am attempting to enroll in Ontario Works for assistance. We are both Canadian. Under Common Law rights in Ontario, Am i entitled to receive spousal support from him who is still in Florida?

    Sincerely,

    Amanda Mitchell

    • administrator on said:

      @Amanda – You may be. When the support payor lives outside of the province, there is something called the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, which deals with these sorts of situations. This Act allows you to apply for spousal (or child) support in Ontario. Your application is then forwarded to authorities in Florida, and the case is dealt with there.

  30. need a time frame for a relationship to be considered common law and what rights each party in the relationship has?

    • administrator on said:

      @Diana – That is what this article is about. If there is something about your situation not covered in the article, let me know and I can add it in.

  31. Michelle Bell on said:

    I have been common law for 5 years. We didn’t have a child together. We both bought our house. Our relationship has now gone bad. If I leave the home before it is sold, will I still get my share of the sale? Also, he says that because he put “more of his money” into the house, that when it’s sold, he gets to “pay himself back first” before we split the money from the sale. Is this true?

    • administrator on said:

      @Michelle – The house proceeds will be divided according to ownership of the house. So, if you own half the house, you’d get half the proceeds. If he would like a greater share, then he must make a claim for unjust enrichment.

  32. In view of the different treatment of common law relationships in the provinces of Canada, Financial Advisors should seize the opportunity in planning the financial set up of the two taking into account the rules on net property equalization regime. I believe a financial advisor has a fiduciary duty to protect the interest of each partner in the event of separation and/or upon death of a partner. The net property equalization regime presents an opportunity for all parties, namely, the advisor and the common partners in exploring a viable financial growth fair to both parties to avoid court litigations when the unexpected occur during the partnership.

  33. What if my name is on a big purchase like a fifth wheel and he wants my name off what are my rights.

  34. After the common-law relationship has ended, is the expensive engagement ring returned?

    • administrator on said:

      @Lynn – It depends who breaks off the engagement. If the man cancels the engagement, the woman is entitled to keep the ring. If the woman cancels the engagement, she must return the ring.

  35. David Jensen on said:

    Does a couple have to be living on their own for three years to be considered common law? What about couples who are together in university but live in a house with other people — would they be considered common law?

  36. Tabitha on said:

    Hi…I just moved in with my boy friend with my three kids in march. when do I need to inform child tax benefit.

  37. Linda Bain on said:

    what are my rights as a common law ……I have lived with my partner for 3+ years

    • administrator on said:

      @Linda – That’s what this article is about. If something is not covered in the article, or is not clear, please let me know and I can update the article.

  38. Rebecca Shannon-Sharpe on said:

    After 20 years common-law my partner & I separated 3 years ago.I could not stay in our co-owned(10 yrs)farm as he was flagerantly pursuing other females.I asked for no alimony.He had the farm assessed 2 years ago & is offering me 1/2 the equity on what it is was worth then.I never received a formal offer.It is my only investment.He has wealthy parents.I would like it sold & the monies distributed equally between us.My study of real estate in the area shows that farms are selling at much higher prices than what the Assessors calculate.I have not paid into the mortgage since I left.I used my money for a 1/3 downpayment thusly the farm never carried monthly for more than 500.i set it up that way.You cannot rent a room for that.I have made my own way & never taken a penny from him.i realize I could have applied for alimony for 1/2 the mortgage payment & taxes & simply left the alimony in the joint account for 1/2 the costs.I trusted him & did not do this.He claims as of 2 years ago he has been the only tennant & I forfited my claim to anything in the past 2 years.Common Law is shameful in Ontario.I lived with this man for 20 years & we have a 23 years old daughter.I have few resources & no pension to speak of.Help!

    • administrator on said:

      @Rebecca – I recommend seeing a lawyer, and doing so right away. Your situation sounds fairly complicated and you may well have claims for unjust enrichment and spousal support.

      If the farm is in both your names, then you are entitled to half of its equity (possibly some adjustments if you haven’t contributed to the mortgage over the last three years). If you believe his appraisal of the farm is too low, you are entitled to get your own appraiser to obtain an appraisal and explain any problems with your ex’s appraisal.

      As well, you can still pursue spousal support, as there is no statutory time limit on making a claim for it. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to get it, which is another reason why you should act right away.

      • Hello,
        My mother is in an eerily similar situation, except she and my father are breaking up currently and she will be asking for alimony. Both their names are on the title to the house, so she knows she is entitled to half. The problem is that my father has been extremely deceptive and secretive about his/their money, and my mother only recently learned that he has accumulated a great deal of debt on their joint line if credit- is there anything she can do to have her name removed from this debt?
        Also, when my sisters and I were in college my mother was the one who supported us and paid tuition, but that was many years ago, and we are all adults now. My mother provided us with spending cash and paid for all of our clothes as well as Christmas presents. She also did all the groceries and basically provided for us. Is there any way for her to prove these things now that no documentation exists for them? Would an affidavit from myself and my sisters be useful as evidence?
        Thank you so much for providing this information- it has already helped a great deal!

  39. learie mc nicolls on said:

    i have several questions about commmon law/engagement and spousal support.
    thank you.

  40. Diane Smith on said:

    I have 2 children and have been a single mom. My boyfriend wants to live together. If he pays rent and I claim this on my taxes. How will claiming my boyfriend as my common law spouse in 3 years affect my income tax return if he continues to pay me rent for living at my home. Will I still claim as living single if he is paying rent for living at my house. I want to know how living common law is going to affect my current large income tax return once he is considered my common law spouse after 3 years.

  41. Barbara Wang on said:

    Several questions…
    1. If a Canadian citizen is in a relationship with an American citizen and living in Toronto, how long must they be continuously together to apply for common law and does their time all need to be in Canada? What is the max time they can be apart?
    2. Is there a legal process needed for the dissolution of common law relationships?
    3. If the partner decides to leave the relationship and return to the US, does the US recognize him as in a legal relationship?
    4. With common law, is there a process, and a waiting period, for the Canadian citizen to apply for sponsorship in order to allow to common law partner to be employable in Canada?
    Thanks!
    Barbara Wang
    bwang1154@gmail.com

    • administrator on said:

      @Barbara – 1. Citizenship is normally irrelevant for any family law or estate law purposes. Similarly, if part of the cohabitation is outside of Canada, that does not change things. There is no rule as to maximum time apart and a lot will turn on the reason the parties were living apart.

      2. There is nothing equivalent to a divorce for people in common law relationships. When the relationship is over, it is over, and no legal steps are needed to end it.

      3. You’d need to speak to a lawyer in the US state that the person lives.

      4. You’d need to speak with an immigration lawyer here in Canada.

  42. chantelle on said:

    Hi there, I have a question regarding the 3 year common law in Ontario. If my partner and I are common law in the future will we have to notify this department of this and if so how do we contact you in the event that we become a common law union. Thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Chantelle

    • administrator on said:

      @Chantelle – I’m not quite sure what you are asking. There is nothing equivalent to a marriage or marriage certificate for common law relationships in Ontario, and there is no need to register a common law relationship or notify any department.

  43. S. Smith on said:

    I am an American, my partner is Canadian. We live together 9 months of the year, part time in Ontario, part time in Florida. I am alone in Florida the month of October and the month of May, apart no longer than 6 weeks at any given time. Does this constitute common law under Canadian law.

    • administrator on said:

      @S – It could well be. The legal term “cohabiting” does not necessarily mean you and your partner are living together. See the 7-part test above under the heading “Am I Cohabiting?” You’ll see that physically living together is only one consideration.

  44. I am now living with someone who has incurred a high debt before he moved in with me. Am I responsible for his debts should he pass away before me. I have no debts.

  45. Rachelle Malboeuf on said:

    Can a common law partner of 7 years have a right to access her husbands pension after separation/divorce regardless if she was working?

    • administrator on said:

      @Rachelle – When a common law relationship in Ontario breaks down, each party keeps what is in his or her name. If you want to make a claim on your partner’s pension, this would be done through a claim for unjust enrichment.

  46. I have lived as common law spouse with my husband in 10 years and we have 2 children. My husband is in title of the property alone. I want to apply to designate the property is matrimonial home. Is this possible? Do I have this right? Thank you for your answer. Tam Phan

    • administrator on said:

      @Tam – The concept of matrimonial home only exists for married couples. In Ontario, a common law partner has no special rights to the matrimonial home.

  47. sharon wheeler on said:

    Hi My boyfriend and I have been living together for 11 years and the house is in my name and we are both still married but separated from our spouses and I want out of this relationship so I am wondering if it is considered common law and he gets have of my house. Thank You

    • administrator on said:

      @Sharon – The fact that both of you are still married to third parties does not change anything.

      In a common law relationship, property is divided according to title, so as the house is in your name, it remains yours. Your boyfriend could make a claim for unjust enrichment.

  48. Robert Deveikis on said:

    Hi, im asking simple because I guess i might be going to civil court, if we lived together in Ontario for under 5 months were not common law correct? & If shes stolen property of mine will i get it back with receipts in civil court? or is it just a lost cause and I should move on? please write me back when possible thanks for your time!

    Sincerely, Robert D!

    • administrator on said:

      @Robert – Regardless of how long you’ve lived together, she does not have a right to take property that belongs to you. You can sue for the return of the property. Receipts are very helpful. The hard part is often proving that she took the property. You need to do a cost / benefit analysis to see whether the time and expense for going to court is worth it.

  49. Teresa Delange on said:

    My beloved boyfriend of 20 years passed away recently. We lived together for 10 years. I have legitimate Will from him as girlfriend. We lived in a condo purchased under his company name. If this was purchased by his company, is it possible there’s a person’s name as beneficiary? Or this will become part of an Estate? If I apply for a common law, will it make a difference as to how I would be treated? Also, what are the requirements if I have to fill out forms for common-law status?

    • administrator on said:

      @Teresa – If your boyfriend has a will, then his assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will, including the shares of his company holding the condo.

  50. Mike Seaton on said:

    Hello;

    I have been living with my partner for well over 3 years. The house in her name yet I paid my share. She has threatened to evict as of next week.
    Can she do this? This will have hardships, as I have lent her money and will be difficult to come up with necessary cash to move.?

    Thanks

    Mike

    • administrator on said:

      @Mike – If the home is in her name, yes she can evict you. However, that is not a quick process. You should not simply leave, but instead see a lawyer as quickly as possible to deal with this.

  51. I was wondering if my “common law partner” ( we have not lived together for 3 years, we have been together for 3 months he has lived with me for 2 months.)is able to take half of my property if we decide to brake up at anytime. Can he take my home which was purchased by myself, after 3 years of living together or only after being married because than the home become the matrimonial home?
    Feeling confused about alot of stuff.
    Thank you,

    • administrator on said:

      @Anne – No. In a common law relationship in Ontario, each person keeps what is in his or her name. That being said, if you have concerns it would make sense to discuss with a lawyer whether a cohabitation agreement would be beneficial in your situation.

  52. ellie guess on said:

    I had a tenant who rented from me on two separate occasions and is now claiming he is my
    common law husband of five years. I did not know him for five years, he did not rent from
    me for three consecutive years – is has tried to break and enter into my home, harasses me,
    stalks me and this has been going on since 2010. I realized that my safety was in extreme
    danger and found away to get away from renting a apartment with him.
    What are his rights? Does he have the right to my family assets, income, property and spousal
    support?

    ME

    • administrator on said:

      @Ellie – If you haven’t lived common law with him, then he has no such rights. I wouldn’t worry about the legal claims unless he starts legal action. This sounds more like a matter for the police and a restraining order.

  53. Are you considered common law if the man you are living with is married and his wife is incompacitated and not living in the home.

  54. Donald McFarlane on said:

    I was in COMMON LAW RELATIONSHIP UNTIL RECENTLY MY PARTNER DIED SUDDENLY AND i OWN 10% OF THE FAMILY HOME WHICH i AM TOLD BY FAMILY MEMBERS i HAVE TO MOVE OUT AND SELL WHAT CAN i DO TO STAY THERE UNTIL THE MARKET IS BETTER FOR SELLING

  55. I have been in a common law relation ship for 9 years. It recentley ended and she left the family home and took the children with her. There is no current order in place for the children or the assets.
    The title of the home is in both of our names, and she has been comming into the house and taking shared items while I’ve been at work. To prevent further loss of items, I have changed the locks. I’m I legally allowed to do that and is she allowed to come and go whenever she wants. She’s been out of the house and not contributing financially for it at all for a month now.
    Thanks

    • administrator on said:

      @Bryan – You are on title to the house, so you are allowed to change the lock. Similarly, she is on title to the house, so she can call a locksmith and let herself in. If she needs to come and get her stuff, she should give you advance notice. Does she have her own place now?

  56. Hi i lived common law for 6 years with my ex. After the first year we bought a house together but i was not able to contribute due to poor credit. In oct 2008 she lost her job and i started paying half the mortgage payment. Am i intitled to anything from this?

    • The lawyer at the time told us that after 3 years should would have to pay me out if we split.

      • administrator on said:

        @Mike – Whose name is on title to the house? Assuming it is your ex’s name, you’d have a claim for unjust enrichment given that you paid part of the mortgage and other household expenses for several years.

  57. Jennifer Legebow on said:

    My and my spouse have been living common law for 4 years, i was wondering if he has the right to make medical decisions for me if i am incapable, such as determining life support, or if i am in a coma

    • administrator on said:

      @Jennifer – The short answer is yes. As you and your partner have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, your partner would be considered your spouse under the Health Care Consent Act. This Act sets out a scheme of who makes healthcare decisions for people who are incapable of making these decisions on their own. That being said, I recommend that you a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, as this allows you to expand the scope of your spouse’s authority and also make your preferences for treatment known.

  58. I ve been going out with my boyfriend for a few years now and since I became pregnant in February 2013 I have moved in to my boyfriends house. However, I still have my mailing address at my previous address but when I give birth to my baby I will change it to my new address which is where my boyfriend lives. Will that be considered common law partner even thou my mailing address is at my previous address where my mom lives? Can you guys help me? The reason why I’m asking is because I’m going through a background check with a government job and they are asking about whether I’m in a common law relationship or no? I have no problem putting that I live with my boyfriend but I’m worried that since I haven’t change my previous address to current address. Please help

  59. I am concerned over what me and my daughter are entitled to. We moved in with my partner in June 2012, I continued to commute to our previous address due to a commitment until April 2013 (two days a week I stayed at my previous home) My daughter resided full time with my partner. As of April 2013 I permanently moved. We are now living as a ‘common law family’ so I thought. I wasn’t aware of the three year rule? As well I have just recently become legally divorce however my partner is still ‘married’. His marriage broke down 8 years ago and he has not been living with his wife since. I need to know what I am left with if this relationship breaks down. As I am struggling with a lot of the pressure that his ex puts on him and indirectly me. I have purchased several large items. furnished his home (which is rented) How do I protect the assets that I have contributed to ensure that we are looked after? or if something happens to me that my daughter is looked after. Do I need a court order? Is there some sort of common law ‘law’ protecting us?

    • administrator on said:

      @Conny – Whether a person is married to a third party will not affect common law status.

      You are entitled to child support from the child’s father, and should seek that right away if you are not receiving it. As well, if your partner acts as a parent towards your daughter he may well be required to pay child support.

      If a common law relationship ends, each party keeps what belongs to him or her. So, anything you purchase is yours and you can keep it. If you need additional protection of your assets, a cohabitation agreement will help.

      To protect your daughter if something happens to you, you can prepare a will.

  60. Emily Mae on said:

    I’m applying for osap and just have a question. I lived with my long-time boyfriend for 2 years. We qualify based on the list above, however I am wondering if we truly do. Although it was not yet a complete 3 years as he passed away in July of this year, we considered ourselves common-law. I currently live with my in-laws (his family) and am wondering if I am considered because on the form it say single(dependent on family), married, divorced , or widowed(which I consider myself to be). I have low-income as we both had supported each other, and I pay for everything on my own. If someone could help me with this I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Emily – I’m sorry to hear about your loss. OSAP uses the same definition of a common law relationship as is used for spousal support. So yes, you would have had to be living together for 3 years to be considered common law.

    • Dom Daisy on said:

      Even if you had lived together for 3 years, under Ontario law you are NOT considered to be spouses. The expanded definition referred to in this article ONLY applies to seeking spousal support after a relationship ends. You would not be considered “widowed” because you were never legally married. Only legally married couples are spouses in this province. Sorry.

  61. Can one or both partners in a common law relationship be married to others at the same time?

  62. I have been in a common-law relationship for almost 10 years. My partner and I had a child on 2007 and decided to buy a house. It was his parents who gave a down payment. They just used my name to purchase the property because my partner didn’t file a divorce to his wife and he has a bad credit rating.

    My question is, he is the one paying the mortgages and some of the utility bills while I pay for groceries, child care, insurances, and other miscellaneous expenses. He is having an affair and if will fight for my rights and for our son will we get anything from him like spousal support and child support. Can I keep the house? Even though both our names are int he mortgage loan. But the house property is under my name.

    Thanks!

    • administrator on said:

      @Maui – Your best bet is to go to a lawyer as each situation is very fact specific.

      As for the home, when a common law relationship ends, each party is entitled to keep what is in his or her name. So, if the home is in your name, you can keep it. Note, however, that your partner may have a claim for unjust enrichment or constructive trust. I would think that would have a high chance of success in your case if your partner’s name is on the mortgage, his parents made the down payment on the house, and he is the one paying the mortgage.

      As for child support, as your partner is your son’s biological father, there is a right to child support.

      As for spousal support, you have the same right to spousal support as if you were married. The entitlement and amount of spousal support will depend on factors like:
      * your income and your spouse’s income,
      * your assets and your spouse’s assets,
      * your age and your spouse’s age,
      * your health and your spouse’s health,
      * the standard of living when you lived with your spouse,
      * your ability to become self-sufficient,
      * the contribution you made to your spouse’s career, and
      * the economic hardship suffered by you arising from the breakdown of the relationship.

  63. My question is we have been living in home that my father left me after he died for the past three years and if I decide to sell the place that I own and that it is in my name only is she entitle to anything?.

    • administrator on said:

      @Ronald – When a common law relationship ends, each party is entitled to keep what is in his or her name. So, if the home is in your name, you can keep it. Note, however, that your partner may have a claim for unjust enrichment, particularly if she has contributed financially or otherwise to your home.

  64. Dom Daisy on said:

    You are NOT considered to be a spouse in Ontario if you have lived with a person for 3 years or have a relationship of some permanence with a child. THAT DEFINITION ONLY PERTAINS TO SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS–ie getting spousal support from a partner after separation. In terms of property rights upon separation and even rights while you are together (like claiming benefits, etc) common law couples are NOT considered to be spouses. See section 1 of the Family Law Act for the correct definition of spouse, and compare it to Section 29 of the same act, which this article refers to–you will see section 29 falls under the subheading of “support obligations.”

    Again, the expanded definition ONLY applies if you are going after someone you have lived with for spousal support after a relationship has ended. You MUST be legally married to have equal property rights upon separation–otherwise, when/if you split up, if the home you lived in, for example, was only held in tbe name of your partner, then it is your partner’s house–you have NO right to it.

    • administrator on said:

      @Dom – You are basically correct. Perhaps my statement “Unlike a married spouse, a common law partner in Ontario has no right to seek an equalization of net family property” is not clear. I’m open to any suggestions as to how to reword the article to make it clearer and I regularly try to improve it.

      One of the themes of the site is that every statute defines and deals with common law couples differently. In fact, as you point out, the Family Law Act even defines spouse differently for different purposes.

      I somewhat disagree with your statement “otherwise, when/if you split up, if the home you lived in, for example, was only held in tbe name of your partner, then it is your partner’s house–you have NO right to it.” That’s true on the face of it. However, there may well be a claim for unjust enrichment available if you have been making financial or other contributions to the house.

  65. Top Hatter on said:

    She started living with me in 1995, we had a child to gether in 1997. She always claimed single and even had me sign a support agreement in 1998 so the government would not know we were cohabitating. Until 2009 when we moved from QC to ON and bought a house together. I moved out in Nov 2010 and continued to pay the mortgage, ins, utilities, tv, internet, cell phones, my car that she has in her posession until I moved back in in Aug 2011. We were going to try to resolve, but it didn’t work out. I moved out again in Mar 2012 and once again paid for everything listed above until she vacated the home so I could prepare it for selling. I resided there alone until it sold in Jun 2013. I continued to pay her share of the mortgage, car payments and insurance. She now has a lawyer demanding in the separation agreement that the proceeds from selling the home go to her to cover any child support payments I missed prior to the house being sold. I argue that paying for them to live in the house more than covered the child support since that was what it was supposed to do anyway.

    • administrator on said:

      @Top – You should get credit for the bills you paid of hers when you were not living together. To a certain extent it is a matter of proof – you’ll need to show proof that you made those payments, and that they were higher than your child support obligations.

  66. I have been living with my female partner for a little over two years now. She owns the house, but i have been putting time, money, effort and material in to home improvements for her property, and was doing this for both of us for our future plans together. Things are not going so well and she as asked me to move out. I have been 100% faithful, but she feels the spark is gone and wants to end the relationship.

    The projects I have done will immensely increase the property value and was wondering if I was able to reclaim the money I have spent towards all of these home improvements.

    What would I be able to claim if things did not work out?

    • administrator on said:

      @Chris – As she owns the house, it remains hers if you separate. To get any compensation for your contributions, you’d need to show that she was unjustly enriched by them. So basically, you need to show that the house value has been immensely increased, and that this was due to the time, money and effort you put in.

  67. My Common law Spouse of 9 years, has left the home, which is jointly owned. They are not contributing to the mortgage or upkeep of the home since their departure. How long must they be out of the home before it is considered abandoned by them? And are they legally and/or financially responsible to repay any of the missed debts (mortgage, insurace, upkeep, etc)?

    • administrator on said:

      @Studio – You’d get credit for paying the mortgage, property taxes, and insurance. You wouldn’t get credit for utilities and other bills for which a tenant would ordinarily be responsible. That is balanced against the fact that you are getting to use your partner’s half of the property. This may entitle your partner to make a claim for what is known as occupational rent, which is essentially rent for using their half of the home. I’m not quite sure what you mean by abandonment – your partner does not lose their interest in the home simply by moving out.

  68. My common law relationship of nine years has recently ended, and we have children. One child is my Biological child and the other is not. The child that is not Biologically mine, is unaware that I am not his Biological father, and although the child has my last name, he has not been legally adopted.
    Can I fight for custody of the non biological child? And what are my responsibilties and rights, with regards to support?

    • administrator on said:

      @Studio – Yes, you can get custody of a non-biological child. All decisions with respect to custody and access are determined on the basis of the best interests of the child having regard to the facts in each case. Neither parental status nor step parent status confers any presumed right or entitlement to custody or access to a child.

      As for child support, given that you have raised the child as your own for several years, and assuming the biological father is not paying child support, you would have the same child support rights and obligations as if you were the biological father. You can use this online calculator to calculate amounts:
      http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/child-enfant/look-rech.asp

      • Thank you so much for clarifying, I was afraid that I may not have legal rights to my non-biological son. Thank you, it’s a great relief to know

  69. I live in common relationship for 12 years and we have 10 year old girl. We owe home together that I put down payment for, but his name is also on the title . I’m just wondering if something happened to one of us since we don’t have legal will can another obtains full title of our home.
    He also has very demanding ex wife and I’m wondering, since they have 2 kids together: do they have rights to come after half value of our home in case something happened to him?

    Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Sana – There are two ways in which both you and your partner can be on title to your home – as joint tenants or as tenants in common. You’ll need to check your papers to see which is the case.

      If the two of you are on title as joint tenants, then when one of you passes away, the other automatically owns the home.

      If the two of you are on title as tenants in common, and you don’t have wills, then the house passes according to the law of intestacy. Under this law, common law partners are not recognized, so common law partners are not entitled to anything. You still may have a claim for unjust enrichment or what is known as dependants relief, but that can be a slow, uncertain, and expensive process.

      As for your partner’s ex-wife, a lot is going to depend on what the divorce order or separation agreement says. A person still has an obligation to support his children even after he passes away. Usually this is done via life insurance. However, if no life insurance is in place, his ex could make a claim for dependants relief, which has several similarities to a claim for child support.

  70. question: my boyfriend and I have been living together for 2 years. He has a young son with another woman, the boy lives with her in a 1 bedroom basement apartment. My partner and I have been very adament about including the child in our lives – we rented a 2 bedroom so he could have his own room and for the past 2 years the boy has come to our place every weekend, (as his father works nights he would come to my care and responsibility every Friday night and leave at some point on Sunday), as well as any time my partner or I had vacation time (we both hold full time jobs) and whenever his mother decided to go away for any length of time (she likes to go to week-long “festivals”) or was too tired or sick to deal with her child. We have provided a clean and nurturing environment for him – good meals, baths, haircuts and nail trimming. My mother babysat him when his mother had to go out of town for her father’s funeral. His mother, who does not have steady employment, used to send me texts asking me things like “how he liked his broccoli cooked”. My boyfriend also pays his ex $200 a month child support, though there is no legal agreement between them.
    Recently, my boyfriend and I made it known that we didn’t approve of many of her methods for raising the child. Now she is claiming that she will file for sole custody and that she will refuse to allow the child to stay with his father on the weekends (or any other time) and that the child is no longer allowed to have any contact with me.
    Is she within her legal rights to threaten this? what options do my partner or I have to prevent this from happening, or for fighting it if she continues along this path?

    • administrator on said:

      @maeve – The current situation regarding the child is known in law as the “status quo.” As the status quo has been in place for at least 2 years, the child is young, and presumably the child is thriving, a court would be very hesitant to change it.

      As a practical matter, I recommend communicating with his mother as much as possible in writing rather than doing it face to face. I recommend keeping a contemporaneous journal documenting when the child is with you, what you’ve done with the child (in brief), and any verbal communications you have with the child’s mother.

      It’s generally not a good idea to criticize a person’s parenting; unless it is harming the child it is something you have to put up with. I’d explain to the child in age appropriate terms that things are done differently at your home. Do this without putting the mother down.

      If the mother does refuse to let the child stay with his father on weekends, or refuses to let the child stay unless the child has no contact with you, you need to rush to court right away without delay. The mother will have to explain why suddenly it is bad for the child to do something she’s allowed to happen for years, which is not easy. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of acting right away if the mother does this, otherwise it will look like you are acquiescing to the change.

  71. Hi there,

    I just had a child with my girl friend of 1 year. We live in a house together but her name is not on the mortgage. It is however on some bills. I worry that things might end and am just curious about spousal support and how it might affect me. I want to seek joint custody and I have no issues paying child support, but the idea of supporting her too scares me.

    • I should also mention that the sudden scare happened when she tried to get me to sign papers, saying we were common law, in order to receive file taxes. Do we both need to claim the child?

      • administrator on said:

        @Kyle – the tax issue is completely separate from the spousal support issue. Our Canada page:
        http://www.commonlawrelationships.ca/canada/

        discusses the Income Tax Act. For income tax purposes, you will be considered common law once you and your girlfriend have lived together for 12 continuous months, which it sounds like you have. It is difficult to comment further without knowing what papers your partner wanted signed.

    • administrator on said:

      @Kyle – There could well be a spousal support obligation. You are (a) cohabiting (b) in a relationship of some permanence (you’ve been living together for one year); and (c) the natural parents of a child. So, you’ve met all the requirements of the statute for there to be a possibility of spousal support.

  72. jennifer on said:

    Hi,Im 24 years old and have been with my boyfriend for 8 years now, his faher , himself and i bought a house 5 years ago but i wasnt added to the title because we had planned that we will save our first time homebuyers for when we buy another house. I was living with him for 2 years prior to the purchase of the home. like i said im not on the title, but i have put more then enough money into the house ie: mortgage payments, bills, food, everything. . he has also been in and out of work the whole time, and ive had steady income the whole time. now that i want t seperate im wondering what steps i can take to ensure that i get back out whats rightfully owed to me. ive reaserched * wrongful enrichment* and **constructive trust*.. do you have any advice for me ?

    • administrator on said:

      @jennifer – You’ve done your research, which is a good start. Get help from a lawyer, as these are complicated claims to make. You’ll need to prove everything you say, which can be difficult, so work to put all of that together. It is often worth trying mediation first to see what you can work out without going to court.

  73. jennifer on said:

    that would be the ideal thing, i just belive that if i want to go down the break up road that things will turn sour very fast and they wont want to give me anything…

  74. lorri.cobitz@facebook.com on said:

    My business partner is living in a newcommon law relationship. Could this person make a claim on our business in the event they split. If so how can I protect myself?
    Thanks

    • administrator on said:

      @Lorri – In theory, yes, this person could make a claim. It is not very likely to go anywhere unless that person is involved in the business or it becomes a long-term relationship. Many small businesses have a requirement that their partners are required to enter into a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract that waives these sorts of claims.

  75. My partner and I have lived together for over 20 years. We each owned a home with no mortgage and we both had 2 children. He wanted me to move in with him. I sold my home when the market was low. Six years ago when the market was high, he sold his home and we built a home; however, his name is on our property. Nearing retirement, I learned that he is first in line to receive my pension (100% for the first 10 years “Gross $48000 per year”, 60% thereafter); that it doesn’t go my estate (my children).
    Now I’m learning that if he dies first, I can be evicted by his children because my name is not on the deed. And he doesn’t have a pension because he owns his own business.
    So if I die first, he not only gets my pension, but he can leave everything to his own 2 children.
    I can move out 3 years before I retire so he doesn’t get my pension, but I leave with NO assets because we are not married and therefore I’m not entitled to anything.
    How is this fair?

    • administrator on said:

      @Deb – After 20 years together and raising 4 children together, you or your estate may well have a claim for unjust enrichment.

      That being said, you’d be wise to take steps in advance. Most pensions that automatically pay to one’s partner allow the partner to sign a form waiving this right. You could also get the home transferred to both of your names. Additionally, you can enter into a cohabitation agreement that solely deals with what happens to assets should one of you pass away.

  76. What happens to the house when someone says ” I’m out of here and taking the kids” ?

    • administrator on said:

      @Ken – If that happened, I’d run to a lawyer to make sure the kids are brought back home right away.

      As for the house, if the leaving party is on title to the house, the other party would either need to buy their share, or the house would need to be put up for sale and the proceeds divided.

  77. my boyfriend was living with his ex for 15 years and were never married but they have 3 children together. they are no longer together and we have been living together for 2 years and plan to get married. im american and he is Canadian and we both live in Quebec.
    my question is 1- does he need to get a divorce first even though they were never married. and can we get married without any issues.
    2- does he have to take care if her after we are married, like alimony?
    3- what rights would she have-like power of attorney, if im his wife?

    • administrator on said:

      @shug – Quebec law is very different from the rest of Canada.

      1. If your boyfriend has never been married then his past relationships aren’t an issue in him getting married.

      2. Unmarried Quebec couples have no right to alimony.

      3. With 3 children together, there could well be rights to child support.

  78. If my boyfriend has lived with me for 11 months and is doing work around the house such as installing a new counter, would he have a case/claim for constructive trust?

    • administrator on said:

      @karen – It is going to depend on how much work he’s done. If it is just minor work over a short amount of time, there is probably not a claim worth pursuing.

  79. Is this common law partnership? I have a child with my ex and he lived in the same apartment with us for a few years. He had his own room and we paid are own personal bills. We split the rent and are not in a intimate relationship. We have no legal parent custody over our child we just understand I am the supporter of our child. He does not have a steady income so I provide all financial support of our child. But we do live under the same ruff and have a child we share parental responsibility for. Is this common law partnership?

    • administrator on said:

      @Vee – In your case, a court would look at the 7 factors listed above. So you’d need to look at all of these things:

      1. Shelter – did you and your partner live together;
      2. Sexual and Personal Behaviour;
      3. Services – did you and your partner help each other the way a traditional family would;
      4. Social – did you and your partner portray yourselves as a couple;
      5. Societal – how did the community view your relationship;
      6. Economic Support – was one partner support the other financially, or were your finances combined?; and
      7. Children – did you interact parentally with each other’s children?

      • Do all of those seven situations have to be in order for it to be a common law partnership. And for taxes how long do you have to be living under the same ruff before it’s considered common law? Thanks for replying.

        • administrator on said:

          No. These are just all the factors that a court would consider. Given that you are not in a conjugal relationship, I think the main things a court would consider are how the two of you hold yourself out to the world, and how intermingled your finances are.

          As for income tax, to be common law the CRA requires you to be in a conjugal relationship.

  80. My girlfriend and I have just moved in together. She has a 2 year old son with her ex-husband. The child lives with us most of the time. She has just filed for a simple divorce and has not made any claims for child support or spousal support from her ex-husband, trusting that he will honor child support payments that they verbally agreed upon. I am separated for 5 years, but legally married to my “ex”wife.

    Will my girlfriend’s casual child support arrangement affect me in any way down the road? In other words, if she had something in writing with her ex, would that somehow affect her claim for child support from me once I am considered common-law? I am not comfortable that I might be responsible for child support because her ex is a dead beat in the future.

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    • administrator on said:

      @Chris – Step-parents may well be liable for child support. The amount of child support they pay does depend in part on the child support paid by the biological parent.

      So it would definitely be better to have a written agreement or court order for child support. The amount of child support can be included in a simple divorce; in fact, a court will want to review child support arrangements before granting the divorce.

      If for some reason this is not done, and the biolgical father stops paying child support, you still have open to you the argument that your girlfriend should be first seeking child support from the biological father, and this should be taken into account. In short, not having a court order or written agreement for child support might make your life more difficult, but shouldn’t make much of a difference in how much child support you’d have to pay.

      • When you say a “a court will want to review child support arrangements before granting the divorce”, does this mean that a written agreement is inevitable? Or is this a formality whereby one parent will simply reply via form that an arrangement is in place and the court will be satisfied?

  81. Hi,
    I am a Canadian citizen and I met my girlfriend (from Spain) while working. We’ve been together now for an year and a half, but we’ve been living together only since a couple of months ago. She would like to move to Canada to live with me. Is our relation considered a common-law partnership? We’ve seen each other almost everyday before moving together.

    Thanks.

    • administrator on said:

      @James – Common law for what purpose? If you want to sponsor her to come to Canada, then you must have been living together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year in a continuous 12-month period that was not interrupted.

  82. Hello.
    Myself and my common law have 3 kids and have been living together in the same house for 7 years. She has asked me to leave and basically made threats to have me removed if i did not leave by that same day. I have been paying a mortgage payment and providing support for 7 years. Does she have the right to have me removed my the house because she is upset at me and wants me to leave. Do I have the right to go back home and stay as long as i need to in order to find somewhere else to live. Does she have the right to lock me out of my home. She put the down payment on the house and the house is under her name.

    • administrator on said:

      @Dave – This is a situation for which you really need to meet with a lawyer urgently. If the house is in her name then yes she can kick you out. But the reality is that takes time. As well, it would be very imprudent for you to leave without arrangements regarding the children being in place.

  83. Here is my situation, I have been in a 4 year relashionship living together, my boyfriend pays the rent, and tv, I pay the phone Internet, car and insurance.. I pay for his kids Xmas and birthday gifts along with grand kids, if I leave my home he says I can’t have anything.. Because he bought it, when we first met he was the provider. Now that I have a good job my money is spent on stupid entertainment things.. I left him a year ago for about 4 months and have been back together for a year and abit, but it was a mistake for coming back.. What rights do I have if I can prove I bought something can I just take it? Since I have to leave our apparment that we both moved into

  84. Anthony on said:

    Hi, my common-law and I have been together for 11 years with 2 children. We have grown apart so she decided to buy a condo, with my financial help. She is eventually going to move out and live there. I currently own 2 properties. She wants a percentage of the primary residence, and wants something in writing before leaving. The entitlements are solely in my name. Is she entitled to a “percentage”. Also what about investments (RRSP’s, Stocks,Bonds etc) is she entitled to any of those investments? Finally if I incurred debt is it my responsibility to pay it off or does she have to assist?

    Thanks,

    • administrator on said:

      @Anthony – The starting point is that each party keeps what is in his or her name. So, your properties and investments are yours. She can make a claim for unjust enrichment. That’s her burden to prove, and it is difficult and expensive to do so. You can wait to see if she decides to.

      As for a written agreement before moving out, that makes a lot of sense for issues relating to children and support. For instance, you don’t want her to move out with the children without having an agreement in place regarding custody and access. Property issues don’t need to be sorted out before someone moves out.

      Debts are treated just like property – if they are in your name, you are responsible for paying them off.

  85. I have a friend who is looking to leave her common law spouse of 25 years. They have a mortgage in both of their names. He has worked very little over the last 7 years since they have purchased their home and she has paid for everything while he has not been working or collecting unemployment. I was reading about unjust enrichment and was wondering how does she go about looking into this as she does not want to sell or loose her home that she has worked very hard for. The debt they owe and the amount they have accumulated from the value of the home is the same. Is there a way to have him removed from the home without her loosing the home, and or having his name removed from the mortgage.

    • administrator on said:

      @Holly – Ultimately, if she wants the house, and him to leave it, she is going to have to buy him out. There’s not really enough information from what you’ve said to determine whether your friend has a claim for unjust enrichment – you need to go to a lawyer and discuss the full circumstances of your case. For instance, you talk about the last 7 years, but the whole 25 years would be looked at. As well, he may not have worked, but may have contributed in other ways. As well, you’d need to look at the totality of their financial situations, and not just the house.

  86. ok so i was never married . but i do have 2 kids with a previous woman. i have been with my current girlfriend for almost 5 years we are think of moving in together . the thing is she own the house we would be living in. so my question is how can i protect my current girlfriend from my x coming after her assets ?? and same once were married ??? i have already talked to a lawyer briefly about how to protect my gf assets from me as i do not want anything if something were to happen she is the one who has worked for what she has . and they suggest a co hab agreement . so main concern is my x able to come after my gf assets if we become common law

    thnx

  87. our son has been living with his girlfriend for approximately 18 months. He has just acquired his first full time job in his field of education and has agree to open a joint bank account with his girlfriend. Does this now make him common law? And, does this make him responsible for her debt? (student loan, car loan, credit card debt)

    • administrator on said:

      @Diane – With common law, you first need to ask “common law for what purpose?” For instance, under income tax law the two of them living together for one year or more in a conjugal relationship is enough for them to be common law.

      The joint bank account won’t change anything when it comes to common law status, as most laws look at the length of time the two have cohabited in determining common law status.

      Unless your son signs for his girlfriend’s loans, he will not be liable for them.

  88. Why are all of the pictures in this article of white straight young and attractive couples? Surely this is not representative of common law relationships in Ontario…

    • administrator on said:

      @CS – You’re right! Obviously, there is a conspiracy of some sort going on…

      In case it is not clear, the information in this article applies to all common law couples, regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, or attractiveness.

  89. Hi. This is a great article and very helpful- thank you!

    I have been separated from my husband (we were married for 16 yrs and common law for 6 years before that) for 3 years now. We do NOT have a signed agreement yet, since we are disputing the terms and i cant afford to pay a lawyer. He has been giving me money monthly since our separation and has never been late. Currently i have been seeing another man, who stays at my house (in my name only) several nights a week, but does not live with me. He still has his own residence, different address on bills etc. My ex husband says we are common law and the agreement he wants me to sign says if i am common law or married he does not have to pay me alimony anymore (just child support).
    I guess my questions are:
    1. Is my boyfriend considered common law? We have been dating for 2&1/2 years and he does stay here often.
    2. Can my ex stop paying me spousal if thats the case? If I dont agree with that on our agreement, can he fight it and win?

    My ex makes very good money and currently my boyfriend has debts and no savings (he also pays his ex for child support)

    Thanks for your help

    • administrator on said:

      @Karen – I’d need to know a lot more about your case to answer this. However, in many cases, if you are entitled to spousal support, then you are entitled to that spousal support regardless of whether you decide to remarry or cohabit with someone.

      So, for instance, under the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, if you were married for 16 years and had no children, and were entitled to spousal support, then you’d be entitled to spousal support for 8 to 16 years, regardless of whether you remarry or cohabit with someone.

  90. Karen Zucchiatti on said:

    Thank you for your explanation of common law partnerships. I have a question concerning what constitutes ‘continuous’ living arrangements. If one partner occasionally lives with her parents, 1-3 days a week on average, never changed her address on government documents nor mail; kept the majority of her possessions at her parents home and her son from a prior marriage lived the entire time with her parents; how does that effect the meaning of ‘continuous’ living in the context of a common law partnership?

    • administrator on said:

      @Karen – It is going to be a fact specific determination using the 7 factors listed in the section above entitled “Am I Cohabiting?”

      There have been many cases where a couple have been found to be cohabiting despite the fact that one had a separate residence.

  91. Hi, I bought a house with my girlfriend about 7 1/2 years ago. After about 2 1/2 years in the house we split up and I bought her out of the house. 6 months later we got back together and she moved back in. I bought her out for $12000 and when she moved back in we used that money to renovate the kitchen. Now 4 years later we have split up again and she wants $10000 back from the kitchen renovation and seems to be threatening me with legal action if I don’t pay her the $10000. She has otherwise lived in the house for free for the past 4 years, not paying any bills or helping with the mortgage. The house is in my name from the first time I bought her out and I’m not sure if we were to go to court if she would be able to get more from me or would I be better of paying her the $10000?

    • administrator on said:

      @Alex – That question can’t be answered without going into great detail about your relationship over the last 4 years. One question to ask yourself is how much value did the kitchen renovation add to the home? As well, you’d need to look at financial and other contributions to the home over the last 4 years, as well as any financial contributions to general living expenses to enable you to pay for the home. Also, consider the reality that it would likely cost her much more in legal fees than the $10,000, so she may not be willing to go down that route.

  92. I moved from the province of New Brunswick to Ontario with my boyfriend 4 years ago. I sold everything to come here….my belongings, my house, etc, not knowing a single soul here but moved because his job transfered him. we bought a home togeather 3 years ago (my name is on the title) and everything inside of it he had shipped up here from his previous home (which I did not live in). He also put my name on most of his investments with the bank, plus we have both been contributing to bank investments over the course of 3+ years togeather.I am out on stress leave from work and we are breaking up and I am not sure what I am entitled to….any of the investments, house? My car is under his name but we both pay on it? I feel stuck as I have my kids here with me and do not know if I shoud move back to New Brunswick or stay? What about alimony, would I be entitled to that as well?

    • administrator on said:

      @sheri – As for property, you are entitled to keep anything that is yours – so half the value of the home and investments.

      It sounds like you could make a claim for the car if you paid for half of it. On the other hand, if he put half his investments in your name, then your claim on the car may not go anywhere.

      You could be entitled to alimony. A lot would depend on what your and his income is.

      You should sit down with a lawyer for an hour, and go through your situation in detail. You’ll have a much better idea what a likely outcome is, and will be better prepared to decide how to move on with your life knowing that.

  93. I have lived in my significant others home for 11months, he owns it, I just pay bills monthly. He had currently kicked me out and given me 48 hours to get my belongings, I would just like to know how much time am I given to find a new home, pack my belongings, and move out. I have no family or friends within a couple hours if here. I can most likely find an apartment by the 15th of the month, 6 days away, it’s going to take me a few days to pack and a few more days to look at apartments. How long do I legally have??

    • administrator on said:

      The law does not specify a certain amount of time. However, evicting a person is not a quick process. You should not simply leave, but instead see a lawyer as quickly as possible to deal with this.

  94. I have lived Common law for two years with my boyfriend then we have been engaged for two years after that. So living over 4 years now. he has joint custody of his two kids since they were born week on week off… He could not afford his semi detattached house when I moved and I helped him get on his feet and get caught up on his Child Support and helped with his bills ( I paid and looked after my own bills and bought a bigger more reliable vehicle to help accomodate the four of us. I paid property taxes untill just recently when he decided without tell me he was now going to start paying them. I cashed in my RRSP in our first 6 months together to help out around the house and help out with the renovation to make it in my opionion a better living enviornment for the kids and ourselves. After 4 years I want to know what I should do now that we are separating. What am I entittled to, why do i have to leave and leave my stuff there till I find a place? What about all the renovation and how I provided for him and his kids for 4 years. I make much less then he does and I help out more because he has to pay child support. what should I do.

  95. I’m petrified!!! My common law husband died of cancer on August 28th 2013 we had been together for almost 18 years (May 24 weekend 2014) We (he, both properties were in his name) both contributed to the household finances sometimes him more sometimes me more but fairly equal. In 2007 I had a car accident and received 179,000. I paid off his line of credit and credit cards put two new roofs on the houses as well as furnace central air and water heater. Since he died his family is out for blood. (my financial blood) They are telling me his work pension is to go to the estate but want me to sign some form concerning this. What do you think? They keep telling me I should trust them but the more they tell me that the less I do trust them.

    • administrator on said:

      @Susan – You really need to see a lawyer ASAP, and definitely before you sign anything. You may well have claims against the estate. As for the pension, that is normally going to go according to the terms of any designation your partner made – you should check what that is directly from the pension plan.

  96. I have been living with my same-sex partner for a little over two years in Ontario. I recently finished school and am having trouble finding work, so my partner has been supporting me financially. I have a few chronic conditions that require continued prescription medications that are quite expensive and I am no longer covered through my parents drug plan because I am over the age they cover dependents, and I am just curious if my partner and I would be considered common law with regards to drug/insurance benefits that his company offers, and if I would be eligible to be covered under him.

    I understand that this probably varies by the insurance company and the policies, but my main question is whether in this circumstance (living together 2 years, in relationship for 4) we could be considered common law in Ontario, or for this purpose?

    • administrator on said:

      @Frank – It is going to depend on the particular plan your partner is covered by. Every plan I recall seeing has required only 1 year of cohabitation.

  97. Monique on said:

    I have been living in common law since February 1999. I moved in with my common law in his home. He borowed half of the house to pay his ex. His ex left in November 1998. Since I moved in I am paying more then 900.00 a month. Am i entitle to the house if my common law spouse dies with out a will. He has a grown up child pass 30.??? He is telling me that he wants to give his grown up child the house and leave me the rrsp and life insurance. What do you suggest.???? Is he right????? Is he fair??? What should I do??? I am very insecure. I have a good job and will have a good pension once I retire.If you need more information let me know
    thanks

  98. Monique on said:

    continuing of above message

    i forgot a couple of things. I also have 2 grown up kids more then 30. I want to leave them my life insurance. If I pass away he will have my rrsp and my gov. pension. I came to his house with nothing. Just my car my bank account my furniture and clothing. I started some rrsp while I was with him, same with my common law. All I want is to be fair with everyone. We are still together do not intend to seperate. I want us to make a will be he keeps postponing it. Saying alot he has to do before making a will. He says he told his grown up child that if he passes away I will live in the house until I die. Alot is going in my head right now. need some advice please thank you MON

    • administrator on said:

      @Monique – If your partner dies without a will, you get nothing. You you may be able to make a claim for unjust enrichment or dependant’s relief, but this is costly, slow, and uncertain, so it’s not a good idea to rely on them. So a will should definitely be created soon. A lot of people have difficulty creating a will – there may well be no ill intentions on your partner’s part. Emphasise to him that the will will make life easier for both you and his child.

      As to what is fair, that is something you and him need to discuss. It will depend on what your financial needs are compared with the financial needs of his adult child.

  99. Alyssa on said:

    My boyfriend and I are discussing living together but there are some things that are complicating the situation.

    1- Him and his brother own the house together
    2- I have a 1.5 year old that will also be moving in

    For now the 3 of us will be splitting the bills 3 ways but eventually the brother will be moving out and my boyfriend and I will be taking the house on ourselves. My boyfriend said once its just him and I we will figure out at the time his brothers contribution *there is a mortgage* and pay his brother monthly to buy him out. I have said that for as long as the brother is living there I will sign something that says it is their house. They are hesitant because they want to protect their assets. Once his brother moves out what are my rights???? Its mind boggling.

    • administrator on said:

      @Alyssa – Unless your name is on title to the home, you aren’t entitled to any part of the home, no matter what you contribute. The fact that the brother owns half the house, or the fact that the brother lives there or moves out, does not change this. So to protect yourself, you can get your name added to the title of the home, or you can get a cohabitation agreement that sets out your rights to the home.

  100. Stuart on said:

    Hi if someone on a work program from another country comes to Canada got involved with someone here an decided to be in a common law relationship what would this mean for the worker can they still work, an what would you have to do to say your in a common law an I know it would mean you have to relocate here but do you apply for common law when the person is in Canada or when they are out of Canada?

  101. Greetings.

    I lived in Ontario and had been in a common-law relationship for 20yrs. We had 2 kids and purchased our home together (both our names are on the title). We have now been separated for over 1 year — i left the property with the kids and travelled to another province but have now returned to Ontario but have not returned to the property. My ex is still living in our property.

    What are my options in regard to the property?

    * Can i force my ex to sell the property / buy me out?

    * Are there any time restrictions / deadlines i should be aware of?

    * Can you recommend any quality books / sites on common-law and property dividing for me to review before speaking with my lawyer (i like to walk in with some ideas rather than being clueless).

    Much appreciated.

    • administrator on said:

      @Pat – Ultimately, either your ex has to buy you out of the home or the home has to be put up for sale. If the procedure for doing this can’t be negotiated, the court will force the sale. Often a letter from a lawyer is sufficient to get the process going.

      If your name is on title, you always have a half interest in the home, so there is no deadline if all you are looking to do is get half the equity in the home. As time goes on, likely your ex is paying for the mortgage, repairs, taxes, etc. on the home, and would have a claim for your share of these payments.

      We also run a forum where you can ask questions about common law issues, and see answers to questions other have asked:
      http://www.ottawadivorce.com/forum/f11/

  102. I married my wife in Pakistan in 2011. Sponsored her to Toronto p, she became a permanent residence April 16th 2013.
    She has called the cops on me and wants a divorce.

    I own a house and we have been living here for the past 5 months. She has since moved out. If I file for divorce is she getting half of the house?!

    Thank you
    Oss

    • administrator on said:

      @Oss – Property division for married couples works differently than for common law couples. In brief summary, the increase in value of a couple’s assets during marriage is divided equally between the parties.

      If you did NOT own the home on the date of marriage, there should be no issues. If you did own the home on the date of marriage, then unlike other assets, you get no credit for bringing the home to the marriage. You would therefore need to apply for an unequal division of property based on the short duration of the marriage.

  103. My girl friend and I have been living common law in Ontario for 12 years. She has decided to leave the arrangement. We do NOT have any property or children. She was unemployed until 2008, and even since we began living together in 2002, I have ALWAYS paid all the rent, all the food and all the necessities of life until today (October 2013). She has NOT contributed to any of the daily expenses up until I retired in 2006 and still does not. She has a job now (since 2008), and wishes to rent her own apartment and leave. We have discussed this STILL GOOD FRIENDS, and we are still living together as partners per se. I have suggested that we continue this arrangement until the END of 2013 in two months. She has paid for her own apartment as of November but will take time to move out. MY QUESTION — IF she did leave in November or December BEFORE the end of 2013, would that mean that WE could not consider the first 11 months as partners (income splitting as I am over 65 years of age and on a pension), and thus we would lose the status of common-law partners when we do OUR income tax for 2013? Of course I know – we are still partners (same joint bank accounts, she is still here, has not changed her new apartment address yet which she will not do until after December 2013), but I have a concern about IF SHE DOES LEAVE IN DECEMBER – can we STILL be considered legal partners ( all legal bank accounts still joint etc.) for that last month. I think it logical that she can rent her own apartment with the view that WE would move into it – as our current apartment is getting to expensive to rent. I think that a case could be made that we/ she needs to have a place to live if I give up my apartment in December, we/she can not just wait until December 31 to start looking for a place to live. Having a place to move to at the end of the year seems to be the prudent decision REGARDLESS if we both move in or not.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IF SHE LEAVES OUR RESIDENCE IN DECEMBER? OR SHOULD WE STAY HERE TOGETHER….UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR……would it make ANY real difference to 2013 income tax preparation in a few months?

    Thank……Rod

  104. I have been in a common law relationship for 13 years, my spouse has 2 boys from a previous relationship we have one child together and we have a house that we bought together about 7 years ago. We had shared the down payment and for the most part she pays the mortgage monthly and I take care of most of the utilities and also contribut to the monthly groceries. I also pay for the yard service and the snow plowing service as well as contributed half towards all large item things such as the roof, windows, doors furnace, fireplace etc…  We are now separating and she is claiming to kick me out, not sell the house and basically thinks she is entitled to 100% of the house since she has been paying the mortgage which is more than my monthly contributions…  The house currently has about 100,000.00 in equity.  Can I force her to sell or buyme out for half?  And if she makes the same or better money than me do I have to pay spousal support?

    • administrator on said:

      @Dom – The house is divided according to title. Based on what you said, I’m not sure who is on title – is it just your partner or both of you?

      As for spousal support, in theory it is possible that a person could pay spousal support to someone with a higher income, but it is very unlikely to happen.

      • We are both on title, over the years she was persistent on paying the mortgage part herself even though by doing so she was paying more than my contributions on a month to month basis however not by much, I have sunk allot of money in this home and on the kids for food and such on a monthly basis, if I knew that she was paying the mortgage all these years in order to claim the house if we broke up I would not have allowed that and done something different. I can understand the unjust enrichment thing if i was not contributing anything but thats definitely not the case…I think she thinks she has positioned herself up for a unjust enrichment case since she had a legal background before I met her.
        Another question would be if she is forced to sell the house to buy me out can she refuse all offers or put the house up to an amount that is too high to sell or refuse entry for potential buyers?

        • administrator on said:

          If you’re on title, you are entitled to remain in the home unless she gets a court order stating otherwise (such as due to domestic violence, etc.). You should really speak with a lawyer ASAP to make sure you are protected though.

          She would have to make a case for unjust enrichment. It is not that easy to make. The mere fact that she contributed more financially to the home is not nearly enough.

          If the house is put up for sale, there is always room for a bit of game playing by one of the parties. Ultimately though the court will force the sale.

  105. Hello,
    My husband and I have a child. We owned a home, then we separated, signed a separation agreement which stated that house stays with me and he agrees to pay child support in the amount of $300. Based on that agreement we got a divorce in March 2007. After that we decided to live together, I sold the house and bought another one in December, 2007. Since then we did minor renovation in the house, upgraded kitchen and bathroom, I paid all the bills. He is not on the title, he never paid any utility bills or mortgage payments. His income is significantly lower than mine. While living together he became an electrician, he has clients and I am assuming can provide for his living. We separated in April 2013. I do not need anything from him, he is not paying any child support. Now he threatens to sue me. I have some savings about 15,000 on child savings account. What he can get?
    Thank you.

    • administrator on said:

      @ Helen – People can threaten anything – you don’t want to take legal advice from your ex. I don’t really have enough information to say for sure what he could sue you about. One thing though is for sure: if your child is living with you, he does owe child support to you.

      If you are earning more than him, there is a possibility that he may be entitled to spousal support – it is difficult to say without knowing more, including your respective incomes. He could also make a claim for unjust enrichment. Unless you’ve got something more concrete from him, I wouldn’t worry about it. You can also remind him that he should be paying child support.

      • Thank you very much for the answer. My income is 120,000, he shows only 20,000 the rest is cash.
        Can my ex do anything about the money on the child svings account? It is a joint account between me and our son, it is called Child Savings account and it is references my son’s Social Insurance Number.

        • administrator on said:

          With that sort of income differential, there is a serious possibility of spousal support, although first your ex would have to show he is entitled to this.

          As for the savings account, since his name is not on it, it is not his.

  106. When does common law start? It is my understanding that in Ontario, a couple must be together for three years for there to be common law status. My question to this is if a couple is together for three years, do the laws pertaining to common law relationships start then, or do they go back to the date the couple entered into the relationship?

    Here is the situation. A couple started a relationship, one of the parties has title to a property with their father, it is in both their names. The property was purchased about one year into this couples relationship. When the father passes away, the property will go to that person in whole. If the couple then breaks up, or if the person who is the property owner passes away, does the property then go to the common law partner, do they have any claim to it? Or does the property go to his estate?

    I look forward to your answer.

    • administrator on said:

      @David – Even if there is a common law relationship, a common law partner has no claim to their partner’s estate unless explicitly stated in a will.

      As for property held by more than one person, it depends on whether the property is held as “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.” If two people hold property as joint tenants and one of them passes away, the surviving person automatically gets the deceased person’s share of the property, and this does NOT go through the deceased person’s estate.

      On the other hand, if two people hold property as tenants in common and one of them passes away, the deceased person’s share of the property goes to their estate.

  107. Was married 20 years then divorced. Ex has had same boyfriend for 7 years (since we split) and has lived with him for 4 years at his place. I have had my two teens for all of that 4 years. Now I am trying to switch to a nearer, less stressful job but would have to quit paying her spousal support to make ends meet.

    Does her common law status have any bearing on SS? There is a separation agreement in place that we put together at separation. No courts were involved. She got a degree after separation but is not working.

    • administrator on said:

      @John – It is possible, though not necessarily the case. For a question like this you really need to go spend an hour or two with a lawyer, go through the details of your marriage, separation agreement, and income history in great detail as well as what changes in your employment would be, to get a definitive answer.

  108. Only my name is on the title of the home, and bills. All accounts are seperate. Common law for 7 years, 4 year old child. He wants to leave and be with someone else.

    If he leaves, I can no longer work the shift I have at work unless I pay for 16-hour a day daycare (including over-night). Instead of quitting my job, I want to rent out my home and move in with family until I can get a shift that will allow me to live alone with my child.

    Can he stop me from renting my home?
    Is he entitled to any money from my home?
    Because he is changing the balance of the relationship, am I entitled to any kind of support (because I would have to quit my job or leave my home)

    • administrator on said:

      @Jane – Your situation is really too complex to answer briefly – you need to sit down with a lawyer for an hour or two and go through it in detail.

  109. Jennifer on said:

    My ex common-law spouse purchased his home in Dec. 1994. The mortgage was completed (paid off) in May of 2011. We began dating,off and on since 1996 and I moved into his home in October 2001. I lived there continuously, in a common law relationship with him, until August 2012. We did not have any children together. I did pay half of the mortgage on the home each month and paid for groceries and household needs while he paid for utilities and services. We kept our finances separate. The house remained in his name. Am I entitled to any type of compensation in regards to the home which I contributed to?

    • administrator on said:

      @Jennifer – It is possible but it is not really something that can be determined from a short piece of information. You would need to sit down with a lawyer for an hour or so and go over all the circumstances of your relationship.

  110. Hi, My question is…when can i change the locks? We were common law and are renting a house. He left in aug and took a suitcase of his essentials. He has been staying on his moms couch and has recently got welfare and got an apt for nov.1st. We are both on rental lease (as are our 2 kids who are 7 and 3) landlord wanted all tenants listed. lease doesnt expire til mar.1st. so until then he says he refuses to sign paper that hes not living here so i can change locks. which my counsellor says is controlling me. but anyway, i wondered if now that he will be getting his own apt thru welfare, do i still need him to sign a paper since hes on lease or cuz hes living somewhere, can i just change locks?

    • administrator on said:

      @Emily – It is a bit of a grey area. Since you are on the lease, you are allowed to change the lock (with the landlord’s permission). Similarly, he is on the lease, so she can call a locksmith and let himself in. That being said, as he has his own place now and isn’t living in the house, it is generally a good idea to change the lock.

      • Hi, Thanks for the reply. The landlord says that he can sue her if we change the locks since he is still on the lease. She says that legally he needs to sign a paper saying he isnt living there. I have asked him to and he says he refuses. His reason is cuz he still has stuff in the house since he only has a bachelor apt with welfare he has no room to store his stuff. I dont know what to do here, rental lease doesnt expire til feb. So does that mean until then i gotta just let him come and go as he pleases?

        • administrator on said:

          @Emily – You can provide the landlord with an indemnity for any legal issues that arise out of changing the lock. Your ex does have the right to get his stuff – but that doesn’t mean he can just come at any time he pleases – it would need to be by arrangement with you.

  111. Peter Naismith on said:

    My ex fiancé and I just broke up. During our cohabitation we had two children together. We also bought a home together that my name is not on the title for, she is the single owner of the home. Also during our cohabitation I filed for bankruptcy in Ontario. She is now trying to say that her credit card bills, lines of credit and other personal loans are my obligation to pay, even though she is the solely named owner of the credit cards. She is threatening me to withhold my access to my children if I do not pay her $500 every two weeks to contribute to her $38K in credit card, lines of credit and personal loans. Does she have any legal recourse that she can use against me to justify me paying her?

    • administrator on said:

      @Peter – No, the loans are in her name and she is responsible for them.

      Additionally, access and financial issues are completely unrelated legal issues. She can’t withhold access because you do not pay what she wants. If she does withhold access, you should *immediately* go to a lawyer to get this dealt with.

  112. Melissa on said:

    My boyfriend and I will be having a baby soon. We are now living together and plan on making a life together. Neither one of us is interested in getting married so I’m sure our status will be considered “common law”. My question is…I own a home and have great credit. He has horrible credit and I believe actually owes money in taxes. How will us now having a baby and living “common law ” effect me?

    • administrator on said:

      @Melissa – Congrats on the baby! Your boyfriend’s credit issues won’t effect you so long as you don’t co-sign or guarantee any of his loans or debts. You’ll need to tell the CRA that you are living common law – this will likely effect some credits and benefits, but you won’t become liable for his tax debts. It may be a good idea to enter into a cohabitation agreement to ensure that if you separate, your boyfriend won’t be entitled to your home.

  113. Hello …..my fiance and I were living together in my home for 2 and a half years. I was on his benefits at work, and his beneficiary. We broke up and now he doesn’t think he has obligations. He cancelled me off his benefits, and as his beneficiary. Now I am left to pay it all!! Being on one income is hurting me dearly.
    Can I fight for Alimony?

    • administrator on said:

      @Anna – Your fiance may well have no choice but to remove you from his benefits if you are separated. As for alimony, you would need to have cohabited for 3 years to be eligible for that.

  114. barbara on said:

    I was married in Ontario to a US Citizen (he is not a Cdn citizen or PR). We lived in the US (Arizona) for 7 years. I separated from him in September 2010. We do not have a formal separation agreement. He lives in the US and I am here in Ontario. I have already filed for divorce (in Ontario) and we have a divorce date with the court for Dec 11. I am looking at buying a house with my boyfriend. Will my exhusband have a claim to the new house? I have read that property acquired after your separation date is considered separate. No monies from the purchase of the home will be from marital funds. My boyfriend is the one who will be putting all the money into this house. He is hesitant to put me on the title if my ex has any claim to the house. I am fine if he chooses not to put my name on the title if it prevents my ex from having any claims to the property.

    • administrator on said:

      @barbara – In Ontario, for married couples, it is the *value* of the property owned *on the date of separation* that is divided. So, at the end of the day, one of you will owe the other money due to the division of property. Any assets purchased after the date of separation don’t enter into the calculation.

  115. inacio on said:

    How long does a couple have to live together before it is considered common law?

  116. My ex girlfriend and I lived together more than 3 years before Nov 2010. Then she went to another country 8 months ( Nov 2010 – Jun 2011). Then she came back we stayed together 3 month ( Jun 2011 – Sep 2011). After that she left 21 months ( Oct 2011 – July 2013 ). We have joint name property but I paid full amount of monthly mortgage. Now she comes back but I told her we should separate since we have separated a long time. Should we still consider as common-law partner? We live in Ontario.

    Thank you.

    • administrator on said:

      @John – If your property is in both your names equally, then she has a half interest in it, regardless of whether you are common law.

      You don’t actually need to by physically living together to cohabit. If the two of you still considered that you were in a relationship it does not matter that your girlfriend went away for a few months to study or work, rather than being physically present in the same home as you.

  117. I’ve been been living with my girlfriend for 32 months. i entered the relationship with a a dept of $135,000 but the money was borrowed against my cottage, and i had no credit card dept . We live in my gilrfriends house and use my cottage for holidays and weekends, and share the expenses equally.
    I put 15000 on my line of credit and 4000 on my credit card to buy her a car which is in her name.
    i inhereited about 50 000 which went ot credit cards trips and paying off a truck that is in my name.
    We combined are finances after about a year. i joined her banking company and increased my are now shared line of credit to 200000 which she has managed to reach. My credit card dept is almost 20 000. i want to leave the relationship with my original 135k dept and ill even suck up tthe credit card which is in my name but we share the use of. She says i owe half the total dept and we keep are origninal homes. Her mortgage principal has come down while my dept has encreased. I say half the dept half the property (ie her car). Also any improvments in either home have been in her house and not the cottage. Who is right? what do i owe? Does it get worse after 36 months? Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Bryan – You keep what is in your name and pay for debts in your name; she keeps what is in her name and pays for debts in her name.

      If you’ve paid for something of hers (like her car with your line of credit and credit card) you may have a claim for unjust enrichment; however, one would need to examine the entire circumstances in your relationship, and not just that transaction.

      For division of property, there is nothing special about the 36 month mark.

  118. My brother friend and i lived together since Sep 2012, however, we still kept our own home. That is, we lived in his home on weekday bcuz his apartment is near my college, while we lived in my home on weekend. And since i lived with relatives, somehow i did not change my address to his apartment address even though we spent most of our time living in his apartment. Then his lease expired this April so he moved to my home on July, but did not change address until Sep, bcuz we thought we could find a apartment near where he is working but we did not find a good one. He paid the rent during that time though. After that, we decided to stay in my home and we have our joint account. He also paid every trip we had since we lived together and brought an life insurance on himself which names me as beneficiary on Jan 2013. Should we consider as common-law partner? If Yes, since when?
    Thank you so much.
    K.

    • Typo. “his lease expired this April so he moved to my home on May. “

    • administrator on said:

      @Kathy – It depends on what the legal issue is. Different laws use different periods of time.

      The fact that you are using a different mailing address from where you are normally residing does not make a difference.

  119. ya i know i can’t spell debt! Its the frustration !!!!!

  120. Louise on said:

    Can you help me? I lived common law with my boyfriend for 8 years. We bought a house 3 years ago. He paid for it but my name was on the title. We had joint bank accounts. He has died. His will has left everything 50/50 between myself and his son. Do I have to put half the value of our home and our joint bank accounts into the estate?

    • administrator on said:

      @Louise – You really should go see a lawyer about this.

      As for the home, there are two ways to hold a home – as joint tenants, and as tenants in common. If the home is held in joint tenancy, you automatically own the entire home without having to go through probate. If the home is held as tenants in common, your boyfriend’s share of the home becomes part of his estate and is distributed according to the will.

      It’s a similar situation with the bank accounts. Normally joint bank accounts have a right of survivorship, and the bank accounts would automatically be yours regardless of what the will says. You’ll need to check with the bank to see how the accounts have been set up.

  121. We’ve lived together for 13 pretty good years and have a cohabitation agreement. My partner (female) contributes $4,000 per month toward things and I contribute $1,000 (these amounts are also our net income). I also contribute odd amounts out of a trust account left to me by a parent, but this is pretty well depleted. My partner has a degenerative illness which requires a great deal of attention by me, although we do have some outside help coming in, some of which we pay for. One of my partners children seems bent on putting my partner into a home of some type (I’m pretty healthy), but my partner doesn’t want to, although in her weakened state, I suppose pressure could be brought to bare. What are my rights here?

    • administrator on said:

      @Peter – You should discuss as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care with your partner. This is a document that sets out who makes personal care decisions for someone when they are no longer able to do so on their own.

  122. Common law for 33 years
    she now wants to split
    She moved into the home to live with me..
    I have moved twice since then and she is on title of our current residence which is mortgage free
    I have worked from home since 1992 to the present.
    She never made any payments toward the mortgage, taxes or any maintenance or upkeep costs of any properties we have had.
    We have a son who is now 30 years old and so is not an factor in this situation.
    When our son was 6 years old she went back to work and I look after my son ,
    as I was working from home and it was just common sense that this was the best arrangement.
    We are both retired now a she collect a monthly pension of approximatly 3000 dollars.
    Her pension was earn entirely while we were together
    She is very much a shoppahholic and has run up some serious debts.
    My question is am I entitled to any part of her current pension..and how difficult would it be to pursue this.
    I have had some well paid legal advice..but according to this lawyer I have a very slim chance of being successful.
    Thx for any advice on this.

    .

    • administrator on said:

      @Norm – I’d really need to know a lot more to answer this question. I certainly can’t provide a more accurate answer than a lawyer who has met with you and discussed your situation in detail. You can always get a second opinion from another lawyer.

  123. Janice on said:

    My common law spouse of 12 years died last year. His brother is executor of his will. His brother is telling me that my husband’s estate has to pay his 19 year old daughters support payments and education expenses until she is finished her degree. There is a signed agreement of support. His divorce agreement gives his daughter first claim on his estate. Is this true?

    • administrator on said:

      @Janice – It could well be true – you should ask for the documentation to confirm. A person has an obligation to support their dependants, even after passing away – that would normally include paying support for a 19 year old daughter obtaining her first post-secondary degree.

      You may also have a claim for support payments from the estate if you were dependant on your partner. You can check with a lawyer whether that’s the case.

  124. I have a son from another relationship and just had another baby with another man that moved in few months ago. He pays half of rent and some stuff for his child. I’ve been supporting myself and my other child and baby as well. Are we considered common-law? He doesn’t support my other son and barely helps me with baby financially. He works on and off. He tells me often that his going to leave us. He wants to claim for his baby and common law but I claimed for him already and I just don’t want to claim common law cause im not even sure what to do cause Im on cpp disability and get child benefits. I don’t even know if his staying or leaving. Im worried if I do I wont be able to support my children cause he will leave and we will have nothing to live off of. I hope this makes any sense. I do want to do the right thing.

  125. My partner and I recently started to live together. He purchased the house and it is in his name. If I wanted to switch my permanent address to the house (drivers license, bills etc) we now live in together would that make us “common law”… The title is something we want to avoid.

    • administrator on said:

      @sford – Common law for what purpose?

      In most (if not all) cases, the fact that your official address is different from where you are actually residing will have no effect on whether you are considered common law.

  126. Robert on said:

    I separated a year and half ago from my common law spouse, but have continued to live and work in the property (I am self employed and work from home). We were together for 8 years prior to the split. We bought and sold three homes together and our last purchase was a home we lived in and needed major renovations. Our down payment came from the equity from the sale of our previous home. With our three previous homes we were joint on title, the home we have now is in her name only, as I my income changed at time of purchase (I incorporated) and with my debt structure I could not help to qualify for the mortgage. I have personally spent the last 3 years renovating this home and it is finally ready to be sold. She has helped with bills and her share of the renovation costs, but has not been living in the home for the past 18 months and has not physically helped with the renovation. I have cashed in investments and accumulated debt from to help with the renovation costs and my income has suffered because of the time I have spent on the renovation. What claim do I have to the equity in this home? We are listing the home in the coming days. I just want to make sure I am able to recoup the cost of my debts & investments and split the net proceeds of the sale after our debts that we have accumulated over the past 8 years are cleared. ~ Thank you for your input.

    • administrator on said:

      @Robert – It sounds very likely that you have a solid claim for unjust enrichment, perhaps up to half the equity in the home. I’d recommend contacting a lawyer to determine this more precisely. In any event, I would be nervous listing the house for sale without some agreement as to what will happen to the proceeds of sale.

  127. Hello. Thank you for this informative article.

    You say that for common law couples, joint property is shared equally and sold if necessary to divide the proceeds. However, is it legal to make a cohabitation agreement between the persons in the relationship which outlines an unequal share of the property assets if ever the relationship goes awry? For example, if one of the persons paid 70% of the mortgage and therefore it is outlined in the agreement that s/he would take 70% of the proceeds on the sale of the house and the other person 30%, would this agreement supersede standard property rights?

    • administrator on said:

      @John – Yes, that’s correct, you can do that with a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement lets you set out how assets will be divided if your relationship ends (either via separation or death). It can also protect you against claims of unjust enrichment.

  128. I learned a lot from this post and from the answers to the comments… Just wanted to say thanks!

  129. Sharmaine Marzan on said:

    Me and my boyfriend living together for almost 7 months and I am 8 months pregnant, but we’re living in my boyfriend’s parents house and I’m still using my old address.Should I change my address to my boyfriend’s address? and How do we apply for common law partner? And also I am not working since I found out that I am pregnant, are we still eligible for common law partner?

    • administrator on said:

      @Sharmaine – There is no such thing as applying to become common law. As well, whether you are working or not does not affect whether you are considered to be common law.

  130. Hi,
    My boyfriend and I purchased a house together more than several years ago. At the time, he still had a house to fix up and sell. He recently moved in (after 3 yrs). He still has his other house that he is trying to sell. For those 3 yrs he paid approx 1/2 of the mortgage (Line of Credit until he sells his house) and 1/2 of the property taxes. I deposited a large portion of cash down on the mortgage when purchased. He had and has a lot of his stuff here. Things are not going well right now. If I decide to end this relationship, what are my options regarding the house? If I leave I know I still have to make mortgage and property tax payments. But is there anything else? How do I get my portion of the house if he won’t sell? If I ask to sell (or buy me out) how much time frame is he allowed?
    Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Julie – Your boyfriend would either need to cooperate in placing the home for sale or else the court would have to force him to do so. If you go through the legal process, it can take several months to a year or more for a court to force the sale. There’s not normally a reason for you to leave the house until it is sold – you don’t need to be paying for two places at once.

  131. My boyfriend has been living with a married man for 7 years. he finally divorced a month ago. Is this a common law relationship. Also he has now started to build a house for himself, which he said its for his kids from I marriage. I have kids also but not his. Do I have any rights here and what are they?

    • administrator on said:

      @Preppi – Sorry, I don’t really understand your question. Are you asking whether you have any rights to your boyfriend’s unbuilt house?

  132. Hi there
    My question is if my husband and I had a destination wedding if we would be considered married or common law in canada?

    We have legal paperwork issued by Mexico but none in canada

    Your response would be appreciated
    Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Hope – Your Mexico marriage is recognized in Canada. Your legal rights and obligations are the same as anyone who was married in Canada.

  133. chris quast on said:

    My father and his common law spouse have separated and now she wants half the farm and support. From my research she is entitled to support, but not half the farm. Am I correct in this. They have been together 18 years. She paid for nothing not even groceries. She did work part time for awhile. She is 72 years old and Dad is 63. Dad also plans to retire at 65. Thanks for your help.

    • administrator on said:

      @Chris – She may be making a claim for unjust enrichment. The courts interpret contributions to the farm quite broadly, and includes more than just financial contributions.

  134. I have been living together with my common law husband for over 5 years, we own properties in both names. Can I change in Ontario my last name for his?

    • administrator on said:

      @Moni – Sure. To do this you need to call 1-800-461-2156 and ask for a joint declaration of conjugal relationship form and an election to change surname form to be sent to you.

  135. I am aware that after a common law break up one spouse can go after credits from the others CPP. But if I were to split with my common law parter would she be entitled to any of my work pension plan or my RRSP which are in my name only?

    • administrator on said:

      @Paul – The basic rule is that each party keeps what is in their name. So, you’d normally keep your pension plan and RRSP. However, it is possible your partner can make a claim against them for unjust enrichment.

  136. Hi,

    I just broke up with my common law fiance of over 3 years. We sold a house in September (which was in his name) and bought a house in Alberta in October with both of our names on it. We were intending to move together. During our time in our last house, I was supporting us through my income, paying all of the bills and he was going to school and taking a few short term jobs and collecting some EI. He has been working in Fort Macmurray for the last month while I have been awaiting a transfer to Alberta through my work. He informed me last week that he wishes to sell our new home and end our relationship. He is now making much more money than he ever made while we were together. I don’t necessarily feel ‘entitled’ to his money, but I have put myself into debt in order to support us for the last 3 years and I would rather not have to re-start my life in this state. It will be very difficult financially for me. I don’t know that I could claim that I am ‘used to a higher standard of living’ because really, I’m used to a lower one, but now that he is making money, I feel that I am being denied an additional income I was counting on to get back in the black. He has a whole new attitude and doesn’t want to give me very much, except my half of any proceeds from the home we haven’t sold yet.

    Do you think I could ask for a small allowance, say for him to pay for our dog’s daycare and vet bills. I know it sounds silly to ask for money for a dog but I work shift work and don’t want him to be cooped up for so long while I am working.

    Thank you for any advice you can offer.

    • administrator on said:

      @Dayna – There is not really any such thing as “dog support” in law. If you and your partner cohabited for 3 years, you may well be entitled to spousal support, particularly if you were helping to put him through school so he could obtain his current higher standard of living (and even putting yourself into debt). It would be worth your while consulting with a lawyer to see if you have a claim worth pursuing.

  137. my friend was married back home and than she got a divorce, after a while they moved back in a common law relationship and had a child the child is 6 year old now. during this relation my friend bought the house .they ended up their relationship again when the child was 4 year of age. the partner was giving child support for 4 years but when they broke up he stopped the child support.my question is where do my friend stands? the property is on rent and he insists on his portion and also do she qualify for the child support and support for herself ? both of them are not married yet..the male is financially very strong and own a lot of fortune ,business, properties outside Canada and food businesses in many countries too..

    • administrator on said:

      @hina – Your friend is entitled to child support based on her ex’s income and should pursue that.

      • thanks for the answer but what about that house? he insist on his share in the house my friend is on the title the house was bought with the money my friend got from the property division from their divorce back home. but the money came into their joint account in Canada from back home does it effects her rights on the house ?

  138. Hi there, I have a question ….I have been living common law for the past 10years and recently left my partner due to verbal abuse. During the relationship we acquired many things ex new home, savings and increased our investments. He has a son who was three went I entered the home I would care for the child while he was working and did all the household responsibilities. I went to work part time while the child was in school but was still responsible or the other parent when my ex wasn’t home due to work. My ex worked two jobs one was part time straight nights and the other was a contractor. When I started working I also had to pay bills which is fine on top of doing everything at the home…We have agreed to spousal support and that has gone through monthly so far…my concern is how would or do I have a claim against the home which we moved into together but it was only in his name. He has increased his self worth at least 100% and I feel I have not been treated fairly. He has the home which is paid for and a large investment account and mine is very minimal . He would not have been able to work as such and have these investments or a home paid for if it wasn’t for me doing everything in the home inside and out plus child care. He was free to work and I was not in a position to have that option. I have no children. He is living in the home and I’m living with a family member and I can’t understand how or why this can be. If its in his name its his? I am executor of his will and down as beneficiary on everything when I left in June 2013. He knows this is also mine but refuses to budge because its all in his name…..Help me this is so unfair………thank you….Tina

    • administrator on said:

      @Tina – It sounds likely that you have a claim for unjust enrichment. It would be worth your while to meet with a lawyer to determine whether that is a claim worth pursuing.

  139. my girlfriend moved into my house and now after 1 month broke up with me but won’t leave because her things are there and she says she can’t afford to live on her own. She has contributed nothing financially and everything is in my name. How do I get her to leave ?

  140. M El M'rabet on said:

    I need a legal advice, as I am in a 13 year old common relationship that has come to an end. This situation has caught me off guard and in the middle of changing careers, so I am unemployed, severely ill with many health issues, and my partner, a she has been very aggressive with me, and not given a rest, and was in denial of my rights until now. She has retained a lawyer, and sent me a letter today stating that she wants to work on a separation agreement dealing with spousal support, and the same token she is giving me a month notice to leave, so she wants me out of our house even if it is on her name, I have contributed with everything I have, from down payment to the mortgage for the first 1 and half, to taking care of everything related to the housekeeping, cooking, maintaining, making repairs, and now she claims it is all hers, and this is a clear unjust enrichment matter. She has also requested from my credit card that we both share under the same account although she is the primary account holder, and also cancelled my cell number. I do not have access to our joint account as she changed the password years back, and I am broke, disadvantaged, and I am a single father, and our daughter has lived with us 40% since she was 3 and she is 16 now. I feel emotionally and psychologically abused, and been taking advantage of, and I know that I am entitled to many things but I have no lawyer representing me for the time being, and legal aid won’t issue a legal certificate unless it goes to court. How can I stop her from evicting me? specially knowing that my daughter has a room in our house and considers this her home as well, and we were promised that this was our home, as that what my partner promised us as were moving into this new home from our previous rental where we were happy. I feel that this is definitely an unjust enrichment case and I want to fight it and get my share of the equity as we were building this home for our future otherwise why I would have move from the apartment. Please let me know what you think, and feel free to give me any advice.

    • administrator on said:

      @M El M’rabet – Your situation is far too complicated to deal with here – you really need to sit down with a lawyer for a consultation. If you’ve been together for 13 years and she earns much more than you do, chances are good that you are entitled to spousal support. Whatever happens, do not leave the home without obtaining legal advice first.

      • M El M'rabet on said:

        I did get legal advice, and I am entitled to spousal, and child support, half of the equity of the house and assets as we ‘ve been together for 13 years. Bur, what concerns me is that I am ready to leave this house as my daughter an I consider it matrimonial and if we leave it would be by June 2014 as I am looking for the best of our daughter even if she is her step mother, I do not want my daughter to be in distress over this matter, and be able her last year of school before heading to college or university. Is this wrong? or too much to ask? plus we have not finalized anything nor dealt with all issues. Is she getting a lawyer advice to kick us out from this house. Will this be possible to do even if a proof of residence from neighbours, driver’s licence, etc…

        Thank you.

        M El M’rabet

        • M El M'rabet on said:

          Please answer me these few questions as it is urgent. My partner has asked me this morning straight up what I wanted so she passes my demands to her lawyer to move forward. She has sent me a letter not from a lawyer on Nov 21, that she wanted to start negotiating a separation agreement, and dealing with spousal support only. She said the house and car are solely hers, and then requested for me and my daughter to leave our house by the end of December just because she is on the title. She has reconsidered that position I believe, and she knows that based on unjust enrichment I have a very string case as I have contributed in this relationship with everything I have, however she feels very firm on these two items. This is a clear unjust enrichment case, but for the time being I want to make sure that I include everything on my demands, but I am afraid she might no agree on the eviction extension as I will be asking for us to move by the end of my daughter’s school year as I do not want my daughter to be stressed or anxious due this separation. I know I am entitled to child, spousal support, property and asset division but I am afraid to make this claim to her an she will just snap and ask her lawyer to start the court proceedings as she is very angry at me and wants me out. I want to separate as well, but I told her we can’t do that until we reach an amicable arrangement and sign a separation agreement that we both are comfortable with. I am severely ill, unemployed, actively looking for a full time job as well as I am in the middle of changing careers, have no place to go.

          I want to know if I should write up my demands myself, or ask for another day or two to get mote legal advice to be able to make a formal demand and take it from there. I feel that she wants to get some money from her family to get me out as soon as possible, and I am not sure what to do. I am not ready, nor my daughter to move out as this is our matrimonial home since we were living just a married couple ” Family Joint Venture” any advice please.

          M El M’rabet

          • administrator on said:

            @M El M’rabet – These are all issues to discuss with your lawyer. They are far too complicated to be answered here.

          • M El M'rabet on said:

            I saw a lawyer and he said she can’t force me to leave as I am considered now as a tenant, Unfortunately, I could not ask more questions as the time was up, but I do have many questions about unjust enrichement, express trust as this is my case. Do judges look at who was dependent of whom? as I feel in my case this was a familly joint venture, and that is what one of a female lawyers has stated and she told me that I have a strong case for unjust enrichment, spousal and even child support, but this male lawyer did not say much about that but instead he said that I might have a claim for the mortgage payments, and on the the house equity now, and that I could probably get a lump sum, but not half of the property value as the first lawyer suggested. Which one is right?

            Thank you.

            M El M’rabet

  141. Do you have to choose to be in a common law relationship for it to count? If you both agree that you are living together but not married will that hold up later? For example, a couple who is dating, choose to share a rental together.

    Also, is there any point where finances become joint without permission? For example, if the above couple live together, and one has a child, can the other partner (not the parent) become culpable for child support in any way? Can bill collectors go after a common law partner for repayment for a bill in the other partners name?

    What I’m worried about, is entering into a living arrangement, and later having any of my finances or my business taken from me. (not by my partner but by former partners and their children).

    • administrator on said:

      @MJ – No, it is not really a matter of choice – if you meet the requirements of the relevant statute, then you are considered common law, regardless of your wishes.

      You are NOT responsible for your partners debts unless you’ve signed for them or guaranteed them.

      Step-parents may well be found liable for child support upon separation.

      Exes of your partner can’t go after your assets or income. However, there may be cases where you need to disclose your financial situation to them.

  142. Jennifer on said:

    I paid for most of my common-law spouse’s education, supported him by working mostly minimum-wage jobs while he was in school, and took out $10,000 worth of personal loans and lines of credit for tuition and and rent etc. which my jobs did not pay enough to cover. Now as a direct result of my financial support, he is working in his field in a stable, decent-paying job, and I have returned to school to further my education and career prospects. He has now unilaterally decided to end our relationship. Would I have any claim against him for unjust enrichment, since his current career and income were gained as a direct result of my financial support, and because the time and money I spent putting him through school are a detriment to me, as I could otherwise have spent that time and money on my OWN education, and be in a far better financial position by this time in my life?

    • administrator on said:

      @Jennifer – You’d really need to consult with a lawyer and go through your situation in depth to determine whether you have a claim. However, if he doesn’t really have any assets as he is just starting out in life, it may not be a claim worth making. If the two of you cohabited for three or more years, you may well have a claim of spousal support given how much you contributed to his current income.

  143. Hi there,

    my girlfriend and i broke up 2 weeks ago after living together for almost 1 year. The house is in name and i have owned it long since before we started dating. everything is in my name including title, taxes, bills, etc, for which i pay for ALL. She paid me $400 monthly and also paid for groceries for the 1 year we were together. She purchased small things for the house, like blinds, curtains, and outdoor lights. Other than that, i contributed and own everything. What is she entitled to? She seems to think she gets half of everything. She is in no hurry to move. I want her out so we can move on, but have been tip toeing around because I do not want to get screwed!! What are my rights??

    Thanks for the help and I appreciate your website!

    • I should also clarify – we do not have kids. I make 100K per year and she makes 70K.

      Also wondering if she would have any right to my truck, ATV, or snowmobile… All of which I own and are in my name.

      Thanks again!

      • administrator on said:

        @Sims – You keep what is in your name, so that would include your house, truck, ATV, snowmobile, etc. In theory she may have a claim for unjust enrichment, but after less than one year of cohabiting that is either very unlikely or a very small dollar amount. You should consult a lawyer to start the process of getting your girlfriend to move out.

  144. Hello,

    I have been living with my gf for the past 5 months. Everything is in my name, and we only share groceries fee. I pay for everything else. Her permanent address hasn’t changed to mine. We are still together, but I am asking this as a precaution for the future. After how many years together, could she be considered common law, and then if unfortunately we split up, could she potentially claim for unjust enrichment? I am wondering if I need to make a cohab agreement before the end of this year.

    Thank you,

    • administrator on said:

      @Ary – There is no set period of time after which a person can make a claim for unjust enrichment. Certain things make a claim for unjust enrichment more likely to succeed, and a lengthy relationship is one of them.

      A cohabitation agreement is recommended, as it can protect you against a claim for unjust enrichment, and also a claim for spousal support. As well, several provinces have changed their legislation in the last 10 years to give common law couples the same property division rights as married couples – a cohabitation agreement can protect against this if it ever happens in Ontario.

      A cohabitation agreement can be entered into at any point in your relationship.

      • Would we, as a couple, draft this cohabitation agreement together before approaching a lawyer, or do we ask a lawyer to draft one in our presence? The situation is not complicated. Basically, what is mine will remain mine, and what is hers remains hers. I suppose any junior lawyer would be able to do this? I just want to make sure it is done correctly.

        Thank you so much for your help.

        • administrator on said:

          It is best for both of you to agree to everything you would like in the cohabitation agreement in advance. Otherwise, you are spending legal fees having a lawyer negotiate on your behalf. However, a lawyer can only represent one of you – the other would have to obtain a separate lawyer to provide what is known as independent legal advice. The other lawyer certifies that they explained the agreement, the person’s legal rights, and that there was no duress involved in signing the agreement.

          • Do you have a complete format of a cohabitation agreement? This way we can draft it ourselves before approaching a lawyer. Thanks in advance.

  145. Hi.I lived common law with my partner from 1998 to 2004 (6 years) and got back together only for 7 months in 2007.Last week he was fired by his employer (and got totally broke) and threatened me to seek for a spousal support for the time we were in relationship. If his claim is accepted by court, how is it evaluated? e.g our financial status when our first separation in 2004 ,second one in 2007, or total period in the relationship? We did not have any fixed asset .I had some liquid asset per mutual funds under sole my name then. After the second separation in 2007, I started to earn over $150 K and currently have liquid asset mostly funds investment over $500 K. Would it affect the court judgement any way?

    • administrator on said:

      @Kev – In theory there is no time limit for pursuing a claim for spousal support. However, as a practical matter after all this time it is unlikely that there is an entitlement to support. Although there are no time limits, there is an equitable doctrine known as laches that essentially means that delaying your claim will be prejudicial to you.

  146. Constatine on said:

    My wife died last July, by October I was happily in love and moved myself and my son into my g/f rented home. We have lived in this home to which I paid my share in upkeep of the home and rent. Also between us I had my 16 yr old son and she had a son 10 and a daughter 14. I gave them money like I would do with my own son and treated them as my own and vice versa. Now after a year and a week I have decided to move due to her drinking, and sarcastic ways. During our time together the landlord died and left the house to her which was put into her name. Now I would like to know how does this situation work? She was in the home renting for 6 years before I moved in. But I gave up a lot of belongings to have myself and my son fit into her families way of life. Am I entitled to anything?

    • administrator on said:

      @Constatine – It’s possible that you are entitled to something – your situation is too complicated to address here, and you should consult with a lawyer. There may also be child support issues that need to be addressed with a lawyer.

  147. My son’s girlfriend became pregnant, and is due in December. Due to conditions in her home, she could not stay there, and her mother obtained a rental apartment for her as of August 2013. In the beginning of October, my son got a car and started staying over at the apartment, because it is closer to work. He has also paid 1/2 the rent for the past couple of months, because he has stayed over most nights.

    My question is this. You stated that a couple is considered common law if “you and your partner live in a relationship of permanence and have a child together”. What does that mean, a relationship of permanence? If he continues to stay at his girlfriend’s place, when would the relationship be considered common law? I am very concerned, to say the least.

    Also, the girl is currently receiving welfare. My son was told at work that he should not apply for paternity benefits, because it would affect her welfare. If he is not considered a spouse, or a common law spouse, how would his paternity benefits affect her welfare?

    Thank you very much for any help you can offer.

    • administrator on said:

      @Sarah – That definition of common law relates to whether spousal support will be payable. There is no exact definition of “relationship of permanence” – what the courts are looking at is the conduct of the parties and whether they are treating their relationship as a long-term relationship. So, things like buying a house together, sharing joint expenses, statements that the other person is the “person of their dreams,” statements that they expect to be together for a long time, an engagement, etc., would be some indicators of a relationship of permanence.

      Ontario Works will consider someone a spouse if they are living with the person on Ontario Works, and if they also have a legal obligation to support the person, or a child of the person. So, this will be true for your son at the latest once the baby is born. At that point, Ontario Works will be looking at the income and assets of both of them combined in determining eligibility for Ontario Works.

      • Because my son is the father, I would assume he has a legal responsibility to support the child, but not the girl. Do both aspects have to be in play for Ontario Works to look at the income (living together AND legally supporting the child)? If he chooses to live at home, but pay some of the living expenses in support of the child, will Ontario Works consider his income? He was advised by someone at his work that he should not take parental leave, but have his vacation paid out, so that the welfare would not be affected. But from what I am understanding from you, is that if he decides to live with the girlfriend and the baby, Ontario Works will look at all income, whether or not it is vacation pay, regular employment income, or parental leave. Is that correct?

        I really appreciate your help, by the way.

        • administrator on said:

          @Sarah – If he is *not* living with his girlfriend, then no, Ontario Works will not consider his income and assets in determining his girlfriend’s eligibility for benefits. However, Ontario Works will require his girlfriend to obtain child support from him, and that support will impact the amount of benefits she receives.

          If he is living with his girlfriend, then Ontario Works looks at all of his income and assets. The source of income doesn’t normally make a difference.

          • Thank you for your help. Are you able to refer me to a legal representative dealing with family law in the Burlington, Ontario area?

  148. administrator on said:

    @Sarah – I’m not familiar with any lawyers in Burlington.

  149. I am currently receiving spousal support/child support from a marriage of 14 yrs. I have a court order stating I receive spousal support until I enter into a common law relationship or a have a material change in circumstance. I am currently in a serious relationship now and looking to co-habitate with this person. At what point can my ex try and have the spousal support reduced? One year or three yrs?

    • administrator on said:

      @Debbie – It is going to depend on the precise wording of your court order – it could be as soon as right away.

      • so in my case it said in the event that I enter into a common law relationship or marry after the date of order this may constitute a material change in circumstances . and either party may seek to vary this order as any such change in my status may be a material change in circumstances . so if in Ontario common law is only considered after 3 years which would be the official entering point?

        • administrator on said:

          @Debbie – The way I would interpret that is that simply living together in a conjugal relationship would be sufficient to trigger a material change in circumstances. There would not be any specific amount of time you would be required to live together – if the court had wanted to set a particular amount of time, it could have.

          It is important to note that the material change in circumstances simply gives your ex the right to ask for a change in the amount of spousal support – he won’t necessarily be successful.

  150. LAURIE MILLER on said:

    I AM SEPERATING FROM MY COMMON PARTNER AFTER 30YEARS.
    1.DO I NEED OR IT IS RECOMMENDED TO MAKE A SEPARATION AGREEMENT SIGNED B Y LAYERS AS.MY PARTNER IS PLANNING TO BUY A PROPERTY IN FLORIDA,REGISTER IT UNDER MY DAUGHTERS NAME
    AND LEAVE THERE WITH A RUSSIAN LADY(I GUESS SHE IS A TOURIST).
    WILL THEY BE CONSIDERED AS COMMON LAW COUPLE EVENTHOU THERE IS NO COMMON LAW
    IN FLORIDA.
    AS I WILL BE STILL LEAVING IN OUR HOME FOR 1 YEAR UNTIL WE SELL IT COULD SHE HAVE ANY CLAIM
    ON IT AS SHE WILL BE HIS COMMON LAW NOW .

    SO MANY THANKS FOR YOUR REPLY
    LAURIE

    • administrator on said:

      @Laurie – Separation agreements are legally binding contracts that resolve all of the legal issues arising out of a couple separating. It is a good idea to get one, just to ensure finality between you and your ex so that your ex cannot raise legal issues later on.

      Regarding your partner living in Florida with someone else, the law in Florida will apply, and the law there is likely quite different than here.

  151. Ray Sands on said:

    What if I bought a condo and decided that my girlfriend would live there but be a legal tenant with rental contract, etc. I would have my separate residence, and the condo would be treated as a rental property with her paying rent. I work abroad and would visit every 6 or so weeks for a week. Would that arrangement be considered common law? Thanks.

    Regards,

    Ray

    • administrator on said:

      @Ray – It could well be. You don’t actually have to be physically living together to be cohabiting – see the list of 7 factors under the heading “Am I Cohabiting?” So, for instance, if you are regularly texting and phoning her, plus live with her one week out of six, that would make it look more like a relationship than a landlord-tenant situation.

  152. I was married for 30 years now separated for 4 years, not divorce yet. met someone 2 1/2 years ago. we bought a house together and I put 50k more then him, which I did threw a lawyer so if anything was to happened I would get that 50k back and 50% of the home. my question is that I put 45k into the home and have all receipts to prove it. Things are not working out for myself, its been 11 months that we’ve been together. He also owns 2 condos that is in his name only….we both pay mortgage and bills equally. I want to keep the house as im the one that dished out the monies……also everything in the house from appliances to all furniture I brought into this from my previous home………..so I feel that with everything I put in should be mine. I did offer to pay him back on what he put down as a payment and want him to walk………….Do you think this is a fair split as for we will not get back if sell cause market is not good…..

    Please advise help

    • administrator on said:

      @Laura – The answer is going to depend on a lot of factors – you need to consult with a lawyer and let the lawyer know the full details of your situation so that they can help you.

  153. My ex and I have been together for 9 years, got engaged almost 2 years ago. We built a house and moved in together July 2012, therefore not common law by Ontario standards.

    The deed and mortgage are in both names. I put $260,000 cash in with the verbal agreement that he would make mortgage payments on $200,000 mortgage and pay utilities.
    He has a great paying job, while I had to quit my job, sold my house, etc to move to “his town” to accommodate his son, whom I cared for while he worked.
    In July he told me he had purchased another house and closing date was in 3 weeks. He and his son moved into his new house a few weeks after close and he has stopped paying all utilities and the mortgage as he “cannot afford 2 houses”.
    Obviously our house is now for sale as I am unemployed and cannot afford it. He does not care if bank forecloses as he has no equity in the house, having only paid off less than $6000 on the mortgage.
    All my money is in this house and I will obviously lose 10s of thousands, with it being only a year old, real estate fees, unpaid property taxes, etc.

    Is there any way to force him to pay part of mortgage and utilities? Can he just abandon financial responsibility for house still in his name?

    Further complication – I co-signed a line of credit for $140,000, secured by the house, which is entirely his debt, acknowledged in writing by his lawyer. I have been unable to get him to pay off this debt though as it would be paid by house proceeds upon close of sale.

    How can I get him to pay half of real estate fees, legal fees and back taxes if he gets no money from house when it’s sold. Any equity is my money, which all fees, taxes, debt will be taken out of.
    Is there anything I can do?
    Lawyers have been expensive and unhelpful.

    • administrator on said:

      @Sarah – That’s a very difficult situation. I don’t think that there is anything you can do to get him to pay the mortgage and utilities on your house.

      As for the line of credit, what were the funds used for? If you can prove that the funds were all used by him you may be able to get that back, depending on the reasons why the line of credit was co-signed by you and what the funds were for. This would be completely independent of the bank’s claim – the bank would still be able to use the proceeds of sale from the home to pay off the line of credit.

  154. Glenn Denholm on said:

    I have been living with my same-sex partner for over 10 years. The apartment lease is in my name. He has stopped working and contributing to the household. There isn’t any shared property. I would like an amicable break up in spite of the fact that he has pushed my financial situation to a Consumer Proposal trying to keep the household bills paid. My question: Does he have any rights to support if we split up? No kids in this scenario, just a pot head who has checked out. I have him on my work benefits and we also submit taxes to CRA as common-law. Thanks in advance.

    • administrator on said:

      @Glenn – He may be entitled to spousal support as the two of you have cohabited for more than 3 years. Whether he is actually entitled to it is going to depend on factors such as why he isn’t working, what sort of difference in income would there be between the two of you if he were working, the roles each of you played during your relationship, etc.

  155. Jeremy on said:

    I am a recently divorced Dad of two children (they live with their mother). I am currently cohabitating with a women that is separated from her spouse (she has three children). My ex-wife has stated that my new partner’s ex-husband could have access to my money and that I could be forced to pay for her children should the father abandon them. My ex has further stated she could have access to my partner’s assets in the event of my death.

    I pay my child support, I am getting my life insurance for the children and I take care of my obligations. I feel my ex-wife is still trying to bully me after divorce. What are my legal obligations, if I fulfill all parts of my separation agreement. She has also “advised” me over and over to see a lawyer. She says she is worried about our children, but as I said I pay everything I am suppose to. I feel she just wants to continue to be in control.

  156. Jeremy on said:

    Oh I forgot to mention that my partner lives with me. Her three children (from her previous marriage) live with their father (by choice, as they are older). So would I be responsible for them.

    • administrator on said:

      @Jeremy – First of all, it is never a good idea to get legal advice from an ex!

      Step parents can have child support obligations. To determine this, the courts look at whether you have acted in a parental role to the children. Given that your partner’s children don’t live with you, the chance of you having a child support obligation is small.

      I can’t think of any way your ex could have access to your partner’s assets if you died. Her statement is utter nonsense.

  157. Brock Jackson on said:

    After dating a girl for six months I moved into her home which she owned. Her uncle recently purchased the mortgage so she now pays him monthly. After living there for eighteen months during which time I paid her property taxes monthly in lieu of rent our relationship ended. Am I entitled to any of her assets?
    Please disregard previous post with incorrect email.

    • administrator on said:

      @Brock – It is going to depend on a much bigger picture than you’ve given me. However, just based on what you said, the short term nature of the relationship, combined with fact that the payment of property taxes was in lieu of rent, it is unlikely you’d have a claim for unjust enrichment.

  158. I have a question my boyfriend and I are going to buy a house together we both have kids from different people. I have more money to put down as a deposit then he does. If things don’t work out does he get 1/2 my deposit as well? Or can you draft something up with a lawyer that will protect my money??

    • administrator on said:

      @Karen – There are two way of handling that. You don’t need to hold the real estate 50/50 – you can put whatever percentages you want on the deed. So, if you are making 60% of the downpayment, and paying 60% of the mortgage, taxes, etc., then you can put on title that you own 60%.

      Another approach is a cohabitation agreement. This agreement would be between you and your partner. It could be as narrow as dealing with how the house is handled financially, or as broad as dealing with your entire financial relationship.

  159. I have separated from my ex-husband back in the spring, We had a legal separation drawn up and all the finances have been sorted, but we cannot file for divorce until early 2014. I have met another person and have the intention of marrying him. Can I legally enter into a marriage contract (pre-nup) with the new person without my divorce being finalized?

  160. Janet Morris on said:

    I bought a home and provided the down payment and have my common law spouse listed as a tenant in common. I no longer want to be with this person for numerous reasons. He has refused to leave unless I buy him out or sell the home. The deed is in my name only. He is not contributing financially and is a burden to me. What are my legal rights in this situation? Can I evict him like a tenant? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • administrator on said:

      @Janet – Your comment seems contradictory as you state your partner is a tenant in common, but you also state only your name is on the deed.

      If the deed is only in your name, then yes, you can evict your partner. However, it is not all that easy to do, so either consult a lawyer about how to do it, or work something out with your partner so that he leaves voluntarily once he has found another place to stay.

      If you are tenants in common, then your partner has as much right to stay in the house as you do.

  161. Shaked on said:

    Hi, sorry I didn’t read all answer and question, I’m an ESL, but didn’t find it in your explaining. Do we need pay child support to his X, while she lives with her common in law? Thank you

    • administrator on said:

      @Shaked – I’m not sure what an ESL is in this context.

      If child support is payable, the fact that one party starts to cohabit with someone else does not change child support obligations.

  162. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 1/2 years. For last 2 years we have been spending 2-3 days a week together in my house (each one of us owns a house, just in different towns). We share grocery bills, help each other with house repairs , go to vacations together. Everyone who knows us knows we are couple, from family to friends. We don’t have our finances combined and have no children together (and neither one of us has children from previous relationships). I just wanted to know if we would be considered common law.

    • administrator on said:

      @Billy – It’s not really clear from what your comment whether you and your boyfriend are cohabiting. The fact you and your boyfriend maintain separate residences does not prevent a finding of cohabitation. The court looks at all of the circumstances and considers the reasons for maintaining another residence. Additionally, there is a subjective element to the test – your and your boyfriend’s intentions are important.

  163. My mum passed away 2 years ago. My dad has been dating a lady for 2 years and they have decided she is going to move in to my dad’s residence. What precautions do my sister and I need to do make that in the event of my dad’s passing this lady or her children do not get any of my dad’s estate.

    • administrator on said:

      @Sharon – There is really nothing specific you can do – it is up to your dad.

      Just living common law does not give your dad’s girlfriend any legal rights to his estate. However, if they live together for long enough, and she relies on him for financial support, then she may have a right to financial support from your dad’s estate after he passes away. Your dad can prevent this from happening through the use of a cohabitation agreement.

  164. M El M'rabet on said:

    Does my spouse from a 13 year old common law relationship have the right to renovate the bathroom and install new doors and windows while in the middle of separation? we are in the middle of a separation, and have not finalized the separation, and actually started it, and she has renovated the bathroom and planning to install new doors and windows. Is this legal? the house and car are in dispute.. they are in her name as I trusted her but I have contributed in both, and more… would she try to sell them while we are separating? as I have not submitted an application yet. Should I do it right away before she tries anything?

    Thanks.

    • administrator on said:

      @M El M’rabet – If the renovations are going to increase the value of the home, or prepare the home for eventual sale, I can’t see why that is an issue.

      Generally, it is a good idea to start proceedings as soon as possible, but that would be for a lawyer familiar with all the circumstances of your case to determine.

  165. Hi. living in Ontario. Been living with my girlfriend for 10 months now. She bought the house in her name. We moved in together, and I gave her half the down payment to buy the house;. I have a child from a previous marriage, but only see him ever other weekend. We contribute equally for the mortgage each week, bills and some small savings saved up from a joint account. Are we considered common law? Am I entitled to anything as far as what I;ve contributed if we were to split up? Is she? Are each of us legally allowed to half of each others savings, RRSP’s, etc? Also, do I have to submit a T4 to her? We share the house and bills together…does it matter what each other earns with respect to claiming single or “common law” for income tax reasons? Just want to protect myself.

    • administrator on said:

      @Dante – The Income Tax Act considers you common law if you have lived together for one year or more in a conjugal relationship. The amount each of you earns does not affect this.

      If you were to split up, each party keeps what is in his or her name. You may have a claim for unjust enrichment for the house as you’ve paid half the down payment and half the mortgage and house bills.

  166. My daughter has been living with her boyfriend for 6 years. They met in Alberta and moved back to Ontario 1 1/2 tears ago. He always made more money than her but insisted she pay half of the bills. She was therefore living beyond her means. He now has no car payments and little debt, but my daughter is 9000 in debt because she had to use her credit card to make ends meet. He now wants her to have joint account and credit card in order to help her pay her bills. Thoughts?

  167. Gilmour Malcolm on said:

    Thank you so so much for your generous time and ample wisdom. This is a wonderful resource and your patience and effective, straightforward advice is quite incredible. I’ve read the comments closely to avoid any overlap and to the best of my ability, don’t see a similar situation as mine.

    My girlfriend has been living with me for 12 years in Barrie. We have no children. Neither of us have ever owned a home. When we started dating, she moved in to my rental. She has paid approximately 20% of the monthly rent. Over the past 6 months I decided the relationship was no longer working and told her I wanted to break up so both of us could move on. Faced with the prospect of having to leave and start directing a much larger percent of her income (she currently spends a lot on books and clothes) she has got very aggressive and defensive. She is demanding alimony. She is demanding that I pay her rent at her new place and provide some living expenses. Despite neither of us being able to afford it, she has got legal advice, which has made her even more militant and uninterested in a reasonable, peaceful end to our long relationship.

    On paper I make more than her, but much of her income is received in cash which she does not claim in income taxes. We are in our late 50s/early 60s. My back is bad, but I still am able to work. She made no contribution to my career as she has worked full time. We have no significant assets.

    Two Questions:

    1) By your outline, we are clearly common-law partners, so spousal payments are in play. Her lawyer will likely push her to get higher payments. Once her lawyer is involved, is the only way this will be settled (assuming I do not agree to her asked for amount) be by a court and judge? Unrelated: frustrating because I doubt she realizes the payments I will make (even in her best case) will be less than the cost of the lawyer. I would rather give her $5000 than having to pay for a lawyer.
    2) If the above answer is “yes” as I fear, can I go back and tell her I am willing to stick with the relationship? She may be to tempted by her lawyer at this point – but if I do not want the relationship to end, but she now decides to leave, do I have to pay alimony? I assume the answer is yes, but perhaps a judge would take this in to account?
    3) If we broke up, but I offered to let her continue to live with me, paying the same amount – would that be a feasible solution? I’m sure her lawyer would disagree – could this be used against me somehow? I would make it clear to my partner that if she continues to involve a lawyer this verbal offer will be removed. Obviously not ideal, but it would allow us to try and move on, while her enjoying the exact same standard of living. In reality our relationship has been made up of two very different lives for 5 years now.

    Not all lawyers are as good as you! Finding a solution for this outside of that expense is a high priority for me.

    Thank You for your input!

    • administrator on said:

      @Gilmour – Ultimately, I think you should meet with a lawyer to get an accurate opinion as to whether you have a liability for spousal support, and if so, what the likely amount will be, and the length of time you would need to pay. Otherwise, you are dealing with a lot of hypotheticals that may or may not be accurate.

      In answer to your questions:

      1. You’ve lived together long enough that there is the possibility of spousal support. There are a number of ways to settle a legal issue, and going to court is normally a last resort. There is negotiation between you and her, or perhaps between you and her lawyer. There is mediation, which is where you and her work with a neutral third party who is skilled at helping people reach a resolution of their differences. There is arbitration, which is where a senior lawyer hears arguments from both sides and makes a legally binding decision.

      2. From a legal point of view, relationships can be ended unilaterally. So, if your girlfriend says the relationship is over, then it is over, even if you want to continue it. Fault and the reason the relationship ended is not taken into account in determining spousal support. However, do note that your obligation for spousal support, if it exists, would only start once your girlfriend moves out.

      3. Sure, what you propose is fine, and in fact, until one of you moves out, both of you would be expected to continue paying expenses the same as prior to your relationship ending. Note though that your girlfriend can move out any time she wishes, and that would trigger a requirement that you start paying spousal support (assuming that you do have a spousal support obligation).

      Thanks so much for your kind words! Good luck to you.

  168. carol washington on said:

    I have been in a common law relationship for 20 years, home is in his name only however, i charge signed by him to give me 50% although it has not been registered, do i have a claim on the property? also , both cars are in his name ,can i take one if i leave? i have always made more money than him and have contributed the larger amount to maintain the home and the bills. 5 years ago he was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure and was on home dialysis for 3 years while i ran my own business and supported him and nursed him. consequently he recieved a kidney from my sister and is in fine health but has become unbearable presumably due to the steriods he takes, will i end up with anything out of the relationship, no children are involved. Also he is accusing me of stealing his money as i manage his accounts and do all the finances for the home. We withdrew money from his rsp and it was deposited to his account of which i had access via debit card. Can he in fact sue me ? thank you for your help !

    • administrator on said:

      @carol – If you’ve been together that long and your finances are integrated that much, there is a good chance that you have a claim for unjust enrichment. I’d recommend you see a lawyer and go through things in detail to determine whether you’ve got a claim for unjust enrichment.

      Seems like you left something out with “i charge signed by him” – what do you mean? Do you have a charge on the home?

      You can’t just take a car that is not in your name.

  169. I was in a relationship for 13 1/2 years. I have recently placed it on hold. I would like to transfer my old car over to my boyfriend, however there is only a section for spouse. I am not sure if we could be considered common-law. I referred to him as my boyfriend, but to his intimate family he would call me is wife on occasions. We lived together for about 1 1/2 years in a house that we purchased under our parents name because of our credit. We both contributed to the mortgage, but I paid all the bills for the time we lived together. For the next 3 years, I was then the one who continued to pay the bills as well as the remainder of the mortgage after we had to rent the house out as he was out of work, but refused to sell the house for lack of a profit. During the relationship I was the main financial supporter of the both of us as well as my child from a different father. I am not expecting anything from him, but yes I want to give the car to him is this possible.

    Please advise
    Thank you for your time

    Renee

    • administrator on said:

      @Renee – Sure, you can give a car as a gift to anyone. You can also apply for a tax exemption for retail sales tax.

  170. Hi, my friend have been together with the boyfriend for almost 6yrs, and they have two kids, one is the boyfriends daughter with a different mother and another is there child together, the mother of the first child is getting child support from the boyfriend every month, can they come after my friend for any unpaid support, even though the child is not is not hers and they’re married?

  171. sorry I meant to say not married…..

  172. I am going to seperate with my girlfirend. We live together more than 3 years as common law in Ontario. Can she take my money away from my personal bank account and incorperation bank account? I am 100% own my incorperation.

    Thank you.

    • Aslo we have joint name in house title. I paid 15k and she paid 5k downpay when purchased home. I paid all the mortgage and property tax for the past 3 years. Will she take half of the house sold price by law? Or can I get my down payment and paid mortgage portion back. And only share the sold profit evenly.

      Thanks.

      • administrator on said:

        @Jack – Your girlfriend only gets to keep what is in her name. So, she has no claim on your personal bank account, nor your corporate assets. As for the home, as she is on title, the proceeds of sale would be shared equally. If you are not happy with that, you can make a claim for unjust enrichment, but given the amount involved, it may not be worth your while.

  173. My husband bought a house before marriage, it is the same house that we are staying now as a family… Will this be not automatically a conjugal property as we use this as our family/matrimonial house? do I have the right with his house even if his name is the one in the title?

  174. My ex-boyfriend and I have been together exclusively for 3 years and lived together for 2.5 years. I recently found out about his infidelity and under these circumstances, felt the need to have him move out. Now, he has always made more money than me in the relationship; I’m left with a mountain of bills and a rent I can’t afford on my own.
    What right do I have to sue him for alimony? Is the 3 year cohabitation set in absolute stone? I basically forced into living on my own and it’s not fair.

    Please help.

  175. Frances on said:

    jdcECsvBQshZ
    After 5 years of living in a rental home together, my brother used a $50K inheritance from our father as a down payment on a house for him and his common law wife. After 9 years in the home, during which time they have shared all expenses, they are splitting. Is he entitled to getting back his downpayment, and then splitting the rest of the proceeds from the house? This is my main question, although there are a few other issues. If it’s not too complicated, perhaps you can also let me know if common-law partners are responsible for each others debts. All of this debt has been incurred by her, behind his back, but much of which is on joint accounts (and $15,000 on a line of credit in his name solely that he did not know she had used….still trying to investigate how that could happen legally). Unfortuantely my brother had let her take the reigns of all the finances and as she does everything on line he had not seen any statements, nor would she share any information. I just helped him get a credit check and found that she has racked up over $50,000 in debt, in his name (and jointly). He is willing to just get his half of the house upon sale and start fresh. But he is now retired, and her income is three times his pension. He does not want to seek support, but he should be able to at least have her pay her own debts from her half of the sale of the house. She is 15 years from retirement, and she will be comfortable with her pension. My brother does not wish to do anything to hurt this woman whom he still loves as she obviously has a sickness.

  176. Me and my boyfriend have been living together for a year. He has been seperated from his wife for 4 years. When we do our taxs this year is he able to list me as a common law spouse despite not being legally divorced?

  177. Rodrigo on said:

    Hi there,
    I received my PR on February 2012.Unfortunately we broke up this year.
    Does my PR status changes? and can I apply for my canadian citizenship later on?

    thank you,
    RR

  178. Hello, I have lived with my partner in my home for 1 year and will end up common law legally if we stay together for 3 yrs. I own my own home, the title is in my name and its paid off. She has 2 children from a foreign country that are coming to Ontario in the near future (ages 18 and 21) to live with us…She buys our groceries and the cell phone and that is it. I pay for everything else. a) Should I get a legal agreement or am I safe in case of a relationship break down ? She makes the same amount of money pear year as I do….b) She will be going back to school and will get an OSAP in a few more years as well…She has promised she will pay it back, but if she can’t pay it back will OSAP come after me for payment? Same with her kids…If they couldn’t pay OSAP back would OSAP also come after me in that scenario as well?

    • ps- as long as things stay as they are in regards to who pays what, the house stays in my name and we make the same amount of money per year can she make any claim for support if we were to break up?

  179. Peggy Zeghouani on said:

    My boyfriend/fiancé have been living together nonstop for 8 months. We live in his home. He pays for everything, I do spend money on groceries sometimes. I do all the cooking and cleaning. We sleep in the same bed and are intimate. We have talked about marriage at some point. We are in a very committed, monogomous relationship. We go everywhere as a couple, our friends know us as a couple. We both have grown children from previous marriages. Our families know we are a couple and we have met and spent time with each others children. Are we considered common law?

  180. Melinda on said:

    I have been living common law for 17 months , I was just bought out of the house I had with my daughter, if my common law and I split up would he be entitled to half of the money I received from the sale of the house I had before I met him?

  181. Melinda LeBoubon on said:

    I have been living with my common law boyfriend for 17 months, my daughter just bought me out of my share of the house we bought 8 years ago, if my common law and I split up would he be untitled to half of what I got from the house?

  182. My same-sex partner and I have been together 8 years+. Living together for 8years. We’ve gone through college, both have fulltime employment and have bought a house, been engaged for 4 years. Both names are on the house, I have worked fulltime in healthcare for 6 years, however he does make nearly 3 times as much per year than I do working for a major communication company. Both have new cars, pets, a new camper etc.

    By him making 3 times as much as I do, am I entitled to spousal support? There would be no way for me to maintain payments on my truck, as well as moving expenses and rent on my own as we had become adjusted to living in a $100K/year household. He has and does pay the mortgage as well as majority of bills for the household. I pay for the others – daily household upkeep, cleaning, my insurance and my truck payment, gas etc. This was never formally discussed, this is just the way its been.

    My concern is, he is choosing to end the engagement and the relationship without any prior notice. He has been unfaithful, he is unhappy so now my concern is to cover my a$$ so to speak. I am 30 and he is 31.

  183. confused on said:

    Dated for 4 1/2 years. He moved in almost 2 years ago into the home I own. He paid most of bills for a year for his share. Now he is going after a share of the equity. Can he? He is claiming a lot of false repairs how do I prove myself. How can he feel he should of lived free the past year and a half. On some slim chance I owe him anything im laid off work with 2 kids how would I be expected to pay sell?

  184. Chantal on said:

    Great posts! My own question: I have been living with my boyfriend for 15 years, very happily, and all we do it together (house under both names, accounts combined, will and power of attorney to each other…), given all that, should we get officially married? We are both approaching retirement and, from the “party” perspective, it would be fun but not sure if it would give us any advantages later in life or not. What would be your opinion on this?

  185. Carrie on said:

    I had my gf move in with me the end of july it was a leased home and was in my name … an eviction notice came and i left on the date of eviction ..first week of december .. she stayed in the home and will not leave and my land lord keeps adding monthly charges of 750.00 in my name and not paying a cent.. poilce said i cannot have her removed ?? why????

  186. Hi my name is Tammy … I live in Ontario.. my question is … I have lived with this guy for 5 years we have children together. 2Years ago he stopped sleeping in the same bed as me he has his own room and we do outings mostly separate. (family functions ect) I am not at a point where I am moving out but I cheated on him and now I am kinda seeing this other guy…. is this going to effect me in court?

  187. Great article! I have a question concerning the New Family law act of BC….. My ex and I dated for a year then lived together in Alberta for 5 months during which I moved out twice. The final breakup were dating others and had no relationship other than casual at which point I then moved to BC and lived here on my own although my ex and I dated when he was visiting in BC for 12 months he did at times stay in my home when he was in BC. Just over a year later he moved in for 3 months after which ended in a permanent break up; during the 3 months of living together in BC we did a cohabitation agreement. He is now claiming common law status under BC new family law act. The question: Can he claim the months we dated and cohabitated in Alberta to carry forward and be applied to BC’s family law act? Or does he need 2 years cohabitation in BC for the act to be enforceable? As a note: we never even while living together share any finances , contributed to each others bills or family/business affairs or had presented to anyone that we were anything more than girlfriend/boyfriend. Thank you so much for your advice.

  188. I lived with a friend of 15years in 2008/9 after separating from my husband. In 2010 our relationship changed and I changed my maritial status from separated to common -law as required by the CRA. We moved from the house that I owned and bought a house together in 2010. 2011 our relationship changed, we were no longer conjugal so I switched my maritial status back to separated on my 2011 tax return. Now, 3 years later they are telling me that even know we live separately within the same co-owned household, have been or can be involved with other persons, I am still considered to be in a common law relationship and I must reimburse the CRA for all monies received over the past 3 years. If it was possible for the two of us to live together before and not be considered common law then why is it not possible to go back to that after a breakdown in the relationship. This is a 20+ year friendship with no ill feelings following a conjugal relationship and we own a house together. It works for us and there was no upheaval for my kids.

  189. My fiance and I live together, but with his parents. It is his parents’ home. Does this mean that after 12 months we are common law, or does it not apply to us since it’s his parents’ home?

    • Elizabeth on said:

      If a common-law partner dies, what is acceptable proof that you indeed were common-law partners? This would be for continuation of group benefits and life insurance provided by credit cards etc.

  190. clint anthony on said:

    I have a question, I live common law with my girl friend in Ontario, her ex husband has been put through FRO and was paying and has now stopped stating the reason that the child support is to much because now she lives with me as common law, does my income come into play can his child support be reduced, also if he has not been to court to reduced set child support does he still have to pay the arrears

  191. dave burns on said:

    in and out of relationship for 4 years. we rented a house with 1year lease. i am in the house now as she has left.
    our relationship was not always living together months breaks in between. i basically supported her while we where together she worked as well made very little min the property in the house i bought and paid for is she entitled since she left to take any items she pleases?
    does the rental lease still carry on past the 1 year?
    one short period of time we had a joint account for 6 mos or less which she closed on 1 of our break ups.
    what defines spousal support and my pension can she collect on both?
    even though she filed income tax as single with child?
    i do have medical benefits on. her and our chid.
    my address has only recently been changed to this same house like 3-4 mos ago
    like i said it wasn’t my home really but more a place now and then.
    i do want to take over the property but i need to know if she is still on the lease and how do i have her taken off if so?
    sorry big messy drama lol

  192. My common law partner is trying to kick me out of our shared home. I’ve been looking for work and am unemployed at the moment but still contribute to bills. Can he kick me out if he is paying for rent? I put a large sum of my savings into this new apartment and now he wants to break up and is pushing me out. I have no money for a new place. What can I do?

  193. hello,
    a) this site has been quite helpful, thanks.
    b) I lived with a girlfriend for 3.5 years, we broke up amicably about 6 months ago. About a year into our relationship she bought a house which I moved into and paid some rent and bills, but my name wasn’t on the title. We had separate banks, cards, loans, etc.

    2 years into the co-habiting (including house and prior apartment) I was involved in a personal injury incident (other person, not me) and a year and a half later I was served a lawsuit. I tried to get personal injury insurance coverage through the home insurance policy (which I was not named on either, mistake). However, because on the date of the incident we had not yet been together for 3 years, we were not considered common-law by the insurance company, thus I was not covered by their policy for that incident.

    Now, we have broken up, and I’m not interested in getting any part of the house, alimony, etc (that was always our verbal agreement). I have no assets myself.

    So here’s my question: The Defendant’s lawyer can’t claim I was living common-law at the time and am thus entitled to a certain percentage of my ex’s property (through Constructive Trust, or Unjust Enrichment) if I don’t agree, right? I don’t want this lawyer going after my ex’s house.

  194. lauren on said:

    I have been living common law with my spouse since Nov 2006. We have been living in a family setting I moved into his home that he purchased in June 2006. since then we have 2 children, another house (since oct) and a cottage all in his name. All assets Vehicles, toys, 2 houses and cottage are in his name. I left my career working part time so I can be home with the children and take care of the household responsibilities etc…He is the bread winner and has an income of over $100,000 per year more than what I make. What are my rights ?

  195. Recently my children and I have moved in with their father. We are not in a relationship, and each support ourselves financially. I also support the children financially on my own and take care of them on my own, he just stays in a room at my residence. We decided to do this so that we could both finish school with minimal financial stress by splitting costs and for if I have a class scheduled that I am not able to pick up our children in time. For tax purposes, am I able to file as single or are we automatically considered common-law even though we are not in a relationship? I do not want to file with him because we are not together and I don’t want my finances to reflect that because i don’t want to be responsible for him.

  196. Can my separated husband common law relationship affect my support now that she is part owner of their house?

  197. john giardullo on said:

    I’m in a common law relationship for 12 years. We both have our own businesses that we run separately, but I make more money in my business than she does. Is there any equalization of profits or do we go on with or own business and does not affect each other??

  198. Chrissy on said:

    Hi, I was in a common law relationship for 9 years. We split up about a year ago, he kept the car and I kept the house as per a verbal arrangement we have. His name is on the title of the house. I am just wondering how I go about getting his name off the title. Can I write up a separation agreement for us both to sign? Will this be legally binding or will I need a lawyer? Where do I feel the proper paperwork? He has not been in the home since our separation. A little direction on this matter will be greatly appreciated!

  199. Misty Loki on said:

    Hi,
    I wanted to know if I and my partner qualify for common law.
    We lived together for 3 months (but there is really no way to prove that now of course)
    We have been dating for 3 years now, but its’ a long distance relationship as he lives in a different province, but often comes to see me. We have a joint bank account and often help each other by paying bills, etc. He is also my emergency contact at work. Also, we don’t have a child together.
    Also, if we get engaged (lets say next month) will that change our relationship to common law?
    Thanks for your time.

  200. Louise on said:

    I have been in a common-law relationship for 9 years. We have 2 children together. We purchased our home 8 years ago together. Six years ago, my partner filed for bankruptcy and the deed was transferred solely under my name as well as the mortgage. He pays a portion of the mortgage, I cover the remainder as well as all other household bills and expenses. We have recently decided to separate. He keeps pressuring me to put his name back on the house, but I know if I do, he’ll force me to sell and my children and I will have no where to go. He has also asked that we draw up an agreement in which I will allow him to stay in our home to help co-parent our children. As much as I want him to remain in their lives, I don’t know if I can live with him. Is there such a thing as a temporary separation agreement? In a separation agreement, can I include clauses like ‘I will not put his name on the deed, however, I do agree that if/when I sell the property I will give him a certain percentage of the sale up to a certain amount’? I’m trying to be practical about all this, but I must admit I’m terrified.

  201. Martha on said:

    My boyfriend just move in with me and I have a house that is under my name, He is going to contribute 40% towards the mortgage. In case of a break up what he would be entitled to?

  202. I was in a 26 year common law relationhip that ended very badly. He had a serious drinking problem the left me with no other choice but to leave him with my children. I have been gone now for almost 2 years. When I left I wrote a letter listing all or our joint assets and an agreement on how those assests would be divided which we both signed and had witnessed by a mutual friend. Also mentioning that neither of us would touch each others personl accounts, business, pensions or inheritences. The children did not want to go with him and he had no interest in fighting for them. After we left he continued to spiral out of control which had a huge effect on him business. He has not and does not pay child support. The children do not want anything to do with him either. My question is now he is threatening me to pay him support and give him half of my pension. Is that possible? Also, why would I be responsible for him when he is self destructing his own livelihood by drinking all the time?

  203. Janice on said:

    I have been with common law partner, soon to be ex, for 14 years. I purchased a home 4 years ago, the title is in my name and he is listed as a tenant in common. All bills including mtge are in my name and come directly out of my bank account. Before buying the home, he did promise to pay his share which he know longer does. Whenever he does give me any money, it’s cash only. We have never been married and don’t have any children together. He has done some renovations to the home through money from an inheritance when his mother passed away. He thinks I have to sell the home and give him half the profits or buy him out because of his labour and renovations. I am out of work at the moment but am actively looking but had to dip into my pension to keep the payments up to date but has actually affected my credit rating slightly but only because of credit cards in my name which I am now in the process of trying to pay off. What are his rights to this home? I know I should get a will made right away since I have 2 children which is where my pension and home are going to. Can I evict him or do I have to actually sell or buy him out? Thanks for your time.

  204. My partner and I have been living together non-consecutively for 2-3 years. We rent and do not own any mutual assets.

    I would like to declare common-law status in order to have her added to my health benefits program at work but I am wondering what kind of impact this will have on other aspects of our financial situation, specifically, my annual income taxes, obligation for future alimony pay etc.

    Is it possible to declare common law status to take advantage of the healthcare benefit while still remaining autonomous in our personal finances?

    Thanks,

  205. Elaine on said:

    I’m filling out Security Clearance forms and need to include my common law partner. They want to know how long we have been common-law. We’ve been dating 2 years and living together for 19 months. Initially we both owned homes and he lived in mine for 11 months, before selling my home and buying a home together, which we’ve lived in for 8 months. At what point did we become common law (how long have we been common-law)?

  206. Breanna on said:

    Hi,
    I’ve been living with my boyfriend and his parents for 3 years now. We were both in University and had little to no income for the first 1.5 years and so we didn’t file our taxes together. He got a job right out of university and now he makes $39,000/year while I am still in university and make very little money. For the entire 3 years we haven’t filed our taxes together but starting January 1st he added me to his benefits at work as a spouse (their rules are living together for 12 months).
    I’m wondering 1) If I’m receiving benefits from his work as a spouse, do we have to start doing our taxes together? Can the revenue agency see that I’m receiving his benefits?
    2) We’re not even really common-law because at university I live on campus 8 months of the year.. I do go home on weekends so I’m really not sure if this counts or not. I read that as long as you haven’t been separated for more than 90 days you can still be common-law.. does going home every weekend really break up that 8 months I live at school every year?

    Any help would be appreciated!

  207. Danielle on said:

    My home is in my name. My boyfriend moved in 3 years ago October. We have a 1 year old child together. He has been drinking heavily lately and I do not want him to live here any longer. He refuses to leave saying that I have to give him 90 days notice. One night he was threatening to kick down the door because he was so intoxicated. He drives drunk and my name is listed on the insurance. Please help direct me where to start??

  208. kate1982 on said:

    Hi there,

    My boyfriend and I had been living together for about 6 months before we decided to buy a house about 8 months ago. My parents paid outright for the house on their line of credit. Both my name and my boyfriend’s are on the title to the house. I pay for the mortgage, hot water heater rental, house insurance and taxes (about $1000+ a month). My boyfriend has been paying for the electricity, water, gas and internet (about $300 a month) and he has recently fallen behind on payments. I have invested approximately $5000 on home renovations. He has invested just under $500. I have receipts to prove all of this. When I worked out some numbers, I have paid for 76% of what we have put into the home and he has paid for the remaining 24%. We have recently split up and he has told me that if I want his name off the title, I have to pay him $10,000. His parents told him to “get some money from her and run.” He has made some threats and I plan to file a police report. He refuses to leave. I can’t leave because I can’t afford to pay for two places and if I don’t pay the mortgage, my parents line of credit will go into default which of course, I don’t want to happen. I can’t afford a lawyer because I’m paying for so much every month on the house and my own expenses (groceries, phone bill etc) but I make too much to qualify for legal aid ($28,000 a year). There are no kids involved in this thankfully. I realise that he is entitled to half of the house because his name is on the title but do I have any rights to more of the house because I have invested so much more into the property? Also, should the police find that there is enough of a threat to warrant a restraining order, who has to leave the house if both our names are on the title?

    Thanks so much in advance.

  209. Lynn Jenkins on said:

    Hello,
    We lived together for 8 months. During this time we had a child. We started to live together when we both knew I was pregnant, and living together was not for that sole reason. Family support has been paid for 20 years and is still being paid as my son is still in university. What is the law regarding spousal support in this situation. Support, which is these days called family support, is a large amount – $1,200 a month. and I rely on it to help maintain our family home. and family car (son still has his room and stays there on holidays as well as paying son’s rent, food, and incidental costs, including some tuition. Can i pursue spousal support once there is no longer any eligibility for family support. And why do you refer to child support as it is not normally called family support? I never specifically asked for spousal support when we separated, but even though I worked while raising my son, I did take lower paying jobs to ensure I was home for him.

    I guess I am somewhat confused about the idea of family support v. child support, and whether I can try for a little continued support, via spousal support once my son is no longer eligible for the child/family support, especially since support has been such a large some.

  210. My partner and I are currently in a common law relationship, and are looking for some way of formalizing it so that it is legally recognized. I have two daughters in the U.S. with my partner playing a parental role, but she is not able to do a number of things without a government recognition of the relationship (like pick the kids up from school).

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to do this in Ontario without actually getting married! I have found legal recognition applications for common law in the case of requesting a name change (which we don’t want) and if one of us is immigrating (which is not appropriate), but no simple application for legal recognition of common law status.

    Any ideas on this?

  211. sioley on said:

    Hi,
    My fiancé and I are students in Toronto, in august 2011 we moved in together in a student house. That summer (april-september 2012)we left Toronto to go back to ottawa for summer jobs and because school was done for the year. We did not live together during that time as I was working at a sleepaway summer camp in Algonquin park (june-august) and before that we were at our mothers’ houses, respectively, although all of our property was still at the student house in Toronto. In September 2012 we came back to Toronto and have lived together continuously. Are we still able to declare common law for September or do we have to wait a whole extra year because of those two months rent free?

  212. joanne on said:

    I do hope to hear back from someone. Please advise. This is an emergency
    My sister and her common law husband have been together for 22 years. They have a house together and I live in a downstairs apartment. They bought the house 7 years ago with her settlement cheque. When they bought the house the bank said that her credit was not good and it would be best if she stayed off the deed. Last year the renewed the mortgage with a new bank and they found out that it was his credit that was not so good and hers was better. This time she was put on the mortgage with the intent to go and get her name on the deed. They never got around to it.
    Two nights ago he called in sick to work and told her he went to hospital. he never answered any of her calls all night while she worried. He came home the next day and told her that he wanted her to move out and is trying to force her to go as well as go to bank and sign papers. At the moment she is at work with him texting her all day. He is staying with his parents and has financial support for a lawyer. She does not. he makes a very good living while she does not. She is crying right now over the thought of having to move and losing her dogs. She cannot afford to leave but he is making it very hard on her emotionally right now.
    Please help….what are her rights? 22 years should mean something. How can this happen? What are her options?
    We live in Kitchener Ontario. We don’t have money to fight this nor do we have a family to help her. Please advise. I beg you.

  213. katherine on said:

    My boyfriend moved in with me November 2011. For the most part, I supported him. He got a DUI in Aug 2012 which has caused a lot of grief. I asked him to leave early 2013 because of his drinking. He moved back in 1 month later. I asked him to move out again July 2013 because of the drinking. We got engaged Sept 2013. We called it quits Jan 2014. During the time that he was here, he has augmented my large farm to accomodate his large excavating equipment. In my opinion, that work has decreased the value, especially where he started renovating my garage for his dump truck and didn’t finish it leaving me a big hole on one side. He has spent about $12 000 on “us” since November 2013 and claims that I owe him for all the work he’s done here. I also want to keep the ring. My father has a big lien on my property. I want to call it a day and move on. He got a lawyer yesterday. What am I looking at here? Are we really commonlaw? Does the relationship have to be continuous?
    Does he have a right to any loyalties if I publish a book about us?
    Thank you.

  214. Hi there. A friend of mine needs some help as he cannot afford a lawyer. Here’s the situation. Lived with a woman for 12 years and have 12 year old child together. He worked for the whole time and she never worked. He bought the home, he is only one on title and made payments and his name only on all the bills, credit cards, etc in addiction to 2 vehicles both paid for by him and in his name (she still has one to drive). He’s being told in addition to the child support, she will also be going after spousal support, half the house and the vehicle…can this happen? Should he borrow from someone to get a lawyer? Please help.

    • Sorry forgot to add in above comment, don’t know if it makes a difference, but she was removed from the home by police and arrested from hitting him…does that change anything?

  215. Hello,

    My girlfriend and I have been living together for about 3 years. During that time we got rid of many of my things to make room for hers belongs. (couch, chairs some bedding etc) There were also a number of items we purchased. Typically she bought the goods and I paid the mortgage bills and groceries.

    I arrived home after work last night to discover she’d moved out. She took all of the items that were hers as well as all the items purchased while we were together.

    Most items I’m not concerned with, however, there was a TV which was given to my daughter for Christmas, an video streamer that was giving to me as a gift, an engagement ring, a chair and few other things that I’d like returned.

    Is there any action I can take to have the goods returned to me?

    Thank you.

  216. Help me please on said:

    Me and my girlfriend have been on and off for 3 years. I bought a house in my name a year and a half ago and she moved in with her two children. A few months later we had a baby. The last 3 years have been very abusive towards me including scares and criminal charges laid on her last year in spring. Due to the bail conditions I agreed to rent the house to her until bail was done and we could try and work things out. They have not worked out at all. There is a peace bond against her which prevents her from abusing me. Things are exactly the way they were if not worse. So I decided after our last fight 2 days ago to leave. The incident was not peaceful however I sorta lied to the police to protect her . She said she would let me see our child without any issues when she told me they were on thier way. After I lied about the incident she stopped answering my calls and returning my messages. So knowing that because the house is in my name and we have only been living together 2 months this time around. I decided to go over to see my kid without her permission. As it is my house since it is only my name on the title. She called the police and they told me that because I left for 2 days I had no right to go to the house now until she was gone. They told me that it didn’t matter how long we had been living together or if it was only my name on the mortage and me paying the bills, we were considered the same as a married couple and she gets to stay there and I have to leave. This does not make any sense to me as this is MY house right. Can someone please help me. On another note due to the bail conditions we do have a family court order granting joint custody and me access right. So she can’t keep me from my child either right.

  217. the sucker ex on said:

    My common law and I have lived together for almost 20 years, have a teenage child together and property of which I was making payments. There was a power imbalance, mental abuse, financial abuse taking my bank card when he wanted, yet I made considerably less, paid all the common bills as well as his car insurance for 5 of the 6 years. He is on disability and pension making more then I and was able to buy what he wanted when he wanted for himself and never contributed with house chores. When he moved out, he paid no child support and months have passed. Now that I’ve gone through the courts myself without council for child support and custody, he is asking that he get half the equity of the home that is in his name as well. Do I have any rights here? Do I have the right to stay in the home without having to buy him out? will I be able to claim 1/2 his car that his name is on? (I have no money for a lawyer and was denied legal aid because I own property). Apparently I have to reply back to his lawyer in a few days, what can happen if I don’t? Can I claim “unjust enrichment” if he does get 1/2 equity?

  218. Ksenia on said:

    I have outstanding student debt which is in my name only. Are there any circumstances in which my common law partner becomes responsible for that debt in that it affects his credit rating or affects him in any other way?

  219. gary yukich on said:

    Gosh I wish I had known about a co habitation agreement because my gal who is evicting me because she wants the room for her 40 yer old son -his wife and their 3 children.I contributed to this common in law marriage a lot lot more than she ever has but to prove it is going to be a problem.I have paid her mortgage at least 6 times -gave her money,took care of her dogs ,bought her a suv,paid to have an alarm system installed,paid to have a home theatre system set up,did all the necessary insurance work as we had a breakin-got her the best settlement one could ask for and on top of that there was a $500 deductible which I had waived.All our friends saw as as a couple but for reasons she wanted -no legalities-now I see how slick she has been -Do I have any recourse at all
    gary

  220. I have a question, I got married 18 years ago, in 2001 we got legally separated. One year later we got back together but never remarried. We are now separating, the house is currently for sale and in both of our names. However, life is awkward and have agreed to split before the house sells. We have agreed on an amount, I am going to take on the complete mortgage and pay him his share early. Since we never got remarried I assume we are treated as common law. Neither of us can afford a lawyer, we were hoping the bank would remove him off the mortgage if he signed off. I don’t have a copy of the separation agreement as it is way too many years ago to have kept that. We can’t get legally separated as we already are. Any advice/guidance would be appreciated!

  221. Vanessa on said:

    After being in relationship with my boyfriend for six years, he broke up with me,I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. Contact him now for your relationship or marriage problems via this email Akwukespiritualtemple@gmail.com

  222. A friend of mine recently passed away after an illness. Prior to this he was involved in an on and off relationship for several years where the woman lived with him from time to time. This ended last year. During the last four months of his illness the woman from the relationship moved back into his home. The home and vehicles etc.. were all in his name. He has a child from a previous marriage and a will where the child and his parents are named as beneficiaries of the home, vehicles, life insurance, and pension. My question is in this situation does the woman have any rights to his assets? Or will it be divided up based on the will? She is still living in the home and it now appears she has no intention of moving on in the near future. She is currently not employed and did not contribute money to the household.

  223. martin on said:

    My question is, does my common law spouse forfeit any rights to the home if we were abandoned by her ? she left going on 3 months now and have only spoken once. We are both listed on the title so I’m guessing she would retain all her legal rights to the property regardless of her just “walking away”.
    Thanks in advance.
    M.

  224. Brigitte on said:

    I was just wondering what would be my next steps… Here’s the situation:

    My ex and I lived together from November 2010 till may 31st of 2011. In this time we had a child, in February. So this made us common law for 3.5 months. We have a separation agreement, however I was just informed now that he may be entitled to my pension when I am older. He is part of the child’s life, however I have full custody, he doesn’t pay support and has supervised visits.

    I was just wondering if he would be entitled to my pension or part of it when that time comes…

  225. I am astonished by the comprehensiveness of your replies, and even more by your patient and compassionate tone. I happened upon your website, and found answers to all my questions. So, thanks!

  226. Hi there, hope someone can help me here. I have been separated for just under 4 years( 3 years and 10 months). Our battle is still going on in court and trial is scheduled for next month. I have since then found someone else and been living with her for 3 years an 6 months. Now my ex-wife is requesting the house hole income from both of us….is she aloud that??? In court…what is my defense against such request!!! Also, is she aloud to request proof of purchases that i have made since i left??? ex; she is requesting the credit application, proof of owner ship and bill of sale of a truck i made several months ago!!!! again what is my defense in court for such request. thank you in advance for your help

  227. Tatiana on said:

    I have owned a home for the past nearly 7 years, and my name is the only one on title. If my fiancee moves in and pays $1200 a month towards the mortgage, food and utilities, will he have a stake in the proceeds when I sell my home? Also, will this amount be considered income for me and therefore will I have to claim it as such on my taxes? Conversely, will he claim it as paying rent on his taxes?
    Will he have any rights to my RRSP? Finally, are we considered common law as soon as he moves in, or after 3 years? Thanks for your help.

  228. squeaky_ts on said:

    My brother was in a common-law relationship, although they haven’t been living together for well over a year! They have 2 children under the age of 13 and her parents have temporary kinship custody, and have for the past 6 months. He passed away suddenly in December, with no will. I have read your website and others and have found that what was his, is his, and what is her is hers, and what few belongings he had should be held for the children (although there is nothing of any value, would be sentimental value only). My question is can my parents hold onto the items for the boys until they are older, or are they required to turn the items over immediately?

  229. Hello,
    Im in into a 3 year relationship, I plan on selling my house and moving in with my boyfriend. His house is fully paid off and I will be getting money for the sale of my house. He would like to take out a line of credit of 25 000 in his name to build an extra bedroom,bathroom and living room downstairs because my kids are coming. He beleives that I should pay of this 25 000 loan as an investment into the house.
    What do you recommend?

  230. George Roloson on said:

    Hello. My father has lived commonlaw with a lady for about 23 years. They both live at her residence. My father worked and contributed to the home and finances. My father helps with heat and hydo bills as well.. My father helped in building a addition on the house and does all the yard work as well. They socialize together all the time as a couple. They camp together at their trailer in the summer time. They also have a sexual relationship. My father sold his tractor , boat , and portable welder spent the money in renovations to her home, as well he helped renovate. Dad has even left her things in his will….He also helps with the financial support of his commonlaw wifes grand children…..{ When needed}. My father is now ill and feels he won’t be here much longer. . With in the Ontario law it mentions ENRICHMENT and DERIVATION… ..Does my Father have any monetory rights to his commonlaw girlfriends residence..

  231. Hi,
    My fiance has decided to leave me after 9years. We’ve only been living together for 2.5 years. The place we leave in is owned by my parents, so I think I’m safe there, I’ve been paying for everything.
    For the last 6 years i’ve been helping her through medical school, paying for miscellaneous things, which is fine. But in the last 1.5, I bought a house that we renovated for her to have her practice in. The house is in my name only and she has been paying rent(mortgage) since I bought it but transferring the money to me and I pay it out of my account. She paid and managed the renovations but most of the bills for it are under my name and she used my credit card to pay for it. Once again she transferred the money to me to pay for it. I’ve paid the utilities for the house from the beginning. I also put a lot of time setting up the practice for her, now she’s doing really well? I’m scared she has a claim to the house due to the renovations? I’ve now told her to change the utilities in her name and pay me more rent to cover taxes. I can’t seem to find our rental agreement but I know we have one as she needed for her practitioner insurance. Any thoughts? The good news for now is that she wants to buy it for me, but I’d like to get more than I paid for it, to cover the time I spent working for her practice? Is that reasonable?

  232. My wife was in a common-law relationship with her ex. They are both Korean who lived in Canada for a few years under student visa permit. My wife and I are living in Korea at the moment, We’re planning to move back to Canada next year. I’m a Canadian citizen and are sponsoring her to become a permanent resident of Canada. I’m filling out the application forms and I’m not sure if the common-law relationship still be reflected on the government files, even though, both she and her ex wasn’t a Canadian citizen?
    Any thoughts on this? Thanks

  233. Hello I read your article however it did not answer a rather tricky question I have, as common law is rather tricky in Ontario. I am currently In a long distance relationship, My boyfriend lives in the states. We are currently making plans for him to move up here to be with me and Intend to register for P.R statues for him. we where told that it would be easier for him to become a resident if we where common law, in this Instance how long should we be living together before we claim common law?

  234. joe r st. croix on said:

    i have been in a common law relationship for 7 yrs. and we are spliting up now. We have a house that mortgage is in both of our names but the title is in my name same as all the bills i want now if she gets half of the house. And instead of going through a lawyer she wants me to pay $20,000 for her car and i would get the house. We have no children also im just looking for some guidance.

    thanks

  235. Hey
    i been living in with my gf for the past two years in england,we both came back to india.I just applied and got my student visa for canada.I been living here for the past 3 months.My gf intends to apply for a student visa as well.Does she need to show funds to living expenses,as she will living with me.Is there any way we can process.
    i did not mention that she is my common law partner when filling out my student visa form because its a big taboo here in india and my parents where aganist it.

    thank you

  236. Please help! My boyfriend of 16 months asked me to move in 4 months ago. Three days ago said he said is done with me and wants me to leave….I was in shock and left his place immediately and I been staying at my girlfriends on her couch, but can not stay here any longer. ALL my belongings are still at his place, but he said that he has changed locks. He demands me to come and get all my stuff out tomorrow even though he gave me 30 days to find a place initially… I have NO place to go, no family and just got laid off work yesterday. Do I have ANY rights?

  237. To be considered commom law, do you have to be together with someone for 3 straight years without breaking up?
    What if you broke up but continued to lived in the same house and got back together?
    When dealing with unjust entitlement, if the other person did not pay for anything to do with the house other than a bill here or there also some furniture and flooring but nothing to do with the mortgage, property taxes or insurance; are they entitled to anything? Am I entitled to anything from them?

    Thank you in advance for your feedback

  238. I have one more question. Is there a time period for claiming unjust entitlement?

  239. in Ontario, Canada, he lived 20 yrs. with gf#1, they had 3 kids together, went their own way, he moved in with gf #2 for 18 months, found dead in their home, no will, very little assets, owed siblings money, 1…who’s responsible for estate, 2..had valuables in pawn shop, how do you get pawn shop to release to family (brother)

    • in what order would anyone be entitled and who would apply for power of attorney, how do we get power of attorney over his estate

  240. adam on said:

    My common law partner and I have seperated. She will not remove her belongings from my home. How long do I have to give her to remove her belongings before I remove them?

  241. I separated from my ex (common law), of 15 years, one year ago. My ex stayed in the house and I left, we are now in the legal process. I have tools left at the house and want to claim them. Does she have any rights to not allow me to get the tools from the house? I have all the recipes for the equipment that clearly show my bank card number on them.

  242. Chantal on said:

    Hello,
    I have been living with my boyfriend for 1.5 years. Our house is in his name and he is responsible for bills and finances. We do not share a joint account, however he is on my health benefits at work and I believe he claimed me as a dependent on his taxes last year. We are not currently interested in being classified as “common law” and for all legal, or financial purposes we are both wanting to keep our “single” marital status. Is there any way to do this in Ontario?

  243. I have lived common law for over 10 years, my common law husband is now dying of lung cancer. He hasn’t filed taxes in years. What will happen after he passes away?

  244. Rich on said:

    Married for 1.5 years, and I have been ‘separated’ for 26 months, but we have not been to court, so nothing has been legal. I have been paying ‘child support’ for those months. For the past 12 months, my ex has been living at her boyfriends house and still denying she lives there and indicating that she still lives at her parents house. I have proof in writing that she is living at her boyfriends, but I am not sure what this would actually change anyways. After I prove to the courts that she has been living with her boyfriend for the last year, will this affect what I have paid in the past for child support, or more importantly the future? Will Spousal support not even be considered by the courts if she tries to go after it, because she lives with another man now?

  245. PastyRink on said:

    Hello, my boyfriend and I have been living together for 4 months after dating for a little over a year in Toronto. We want to apply for permanent residency here (I have an open work permit, and he has a closed one) so I was wondering if we qualify for a common law partnership in Ontario. Is there a way we can obtain a document that proves this? A certificate of common law partnership, of sorts? What are our options here?

  246. Tough on Grease, Soft on Manipulative Women on said:

    I have been living in a common-law relationship since 2008. Before me and my cohabiter met neither of us had any real property. A few months after living together we decided to get a house. She provided the down payment, while I assisted paying the rest of the loan and concerned myself with furnishing and supplying the house. I’m a handyman, and I’m not afraid to say I’m a good one. I had made substantial corrections, adaptions, additions and renovations in the house we lived in. After a period of success in our finances we made the decision to purchase the house next door. The place was a wreck. I remodeled the entirety of the house, leaving only the original foundation and frame untouched. She rented it out and collected the money. After my usefulness had reached its apex she turned on me.

    Now I am honest and naive to a fault. I put everything in her name, for a few reasons, but the most logical and relevant reason was because I had been a part of a previous relationship–a marriage that fell apart. She told be that she wanted to protect what we built together from anyone from my past that would come and claim it. And, the fool that I was, I trusted her with everything I was and everything I had; I should have known that people assume of others what they know about themselves, like bluejays guard their eggs from theft better than any other bird because they themselves steal from other nests. With that low cunning she decided to show her true colors after she got the two wonderfully remodeled houses, one representing her home and another income.
    She has been mentally, emotionally and physically abusive to me and anyone else that is not in a position to defend themselves, such as her previous son and her aging mother who, (because of being from another country) that can only speak Spanish and is lead to believe that this woman has the right to collect her pension and deport her back to Cuba. She has taken every avenue except through black magic (though I wouldn’t put it past her) to manipulate, humiliate and subjugate and otherwise control me and anyone else she can as a means to gain more material wealth and possessions and to gratify her sense of self. Normally I’d cut my losses, ensure that I kept my tools and take with me all the material stuff I brought into the relationship and leave: I’m a capable of repeating the accomplishments I’ve had with her and more with excellent technical skills, a toughened body, hard work and a supportive family. Yeah, it would suck to see all the money, time and emotion in that relationship go to waste but I know how to move past it. The problem is that since we’ve been together we’ve had two kids and she knows they are my greatest concern. She can use them to twist my insides around and out and I’m not in a position to defend myself. Then, when they get older she’ll do the same thing to them as she has done her her mother, her son and me. She’s not the nurturing kind, despite having enough natural affections of a mother to see her boy through childhood she has trouble tolerating and dealing with children, and besides that her life plans without lasting, capable people to provide for her is a house of cards; It’ll fall apart and she’ll move on to some other unsuspecting pseudo-functional guy like me and the last man she married. That’s not the life I want for my sons. I was fortunate enough to give them my last name, but I’m presently incapable to provide for them.
    For the time being I have a steady job, but no house to my own and no personal finances that weren’t snatched up in her net… And I don’t have any family members in the country that can adequately care for them; the closest and most able is my sister, a childcare provider, but she lives in the ‘States. There’s so many legal facets twists and complications to this situation that I’m aware of, but I have no idea to counteract and though I’m not a pushover when it comes to other guys who threaten me I have no idea how to confront women without compromising my values.

    Now, I don’t hate her and I know she has good in her. As an attendant in a nursing home and she has cared for people in their old age. It’s not her fault she’s the way she is; she’s been conditioned to be hungry and controlling because of the horrible conditions she grew up in and her abusive father, but that doesn’t mean she can take care of her self or anybody else. Any person that she considers hers deserves as much respect as a vacuum cleaner: as long as a person is useful and is a big sucker she’ll keep it and care for it, otherwise she’ll beat them, swear at them threaten them and then won’t hesitate to throw them in the garbage and go out looking for a new one. I don’t want to destroy her, ruin her or take all that she has. I want to collect as much as I need to take my children and take care of them, get a new home and move on with my new life with them.

    I’ve got the obligation as a father to see that my children are taken care of but I’m emotionally and legally ham-stringed here. I don’t know what to do or who to turn to without going into serious debt on money I don’t have. Even if I win the case in the legal battle that I’m certain is going to take place, I won’t be able to provide for them and pay the legal fees. Can somebody please help me?

  247. donny on said:

    my daughter voluntary moved out of her mothers house few days after turning 17 and done school and moved into her boyfriends house who is 21, we live in ontario– am i still leagally responsible to pay child support?

  248. I am the sole owner of a home in Ontario… my girlfriend has been living with me in it for 2 years now.. She pays me rent money every month, not much 400 dollars, which we consider to be for her share of utilities, food etc… I make roughly 30 thousand a year more than her.

    In the event we split after 3 years… would I lose my house? what could happen to me? i’m confused I think I want to get some type of agreement between us made up.. she’s okay with that idea.

    looking forward to your answers… thanks for your time.

  249. Tracey on said:

    My boyfriend and I have been living common law since January 2012-March 1, 2014. We referred to one another as husband/wife, common law and spouse. He was under my benefits at work as my spouse. We never had joint bank accounts but shared our money covering expenses. We never claimed our taxes as common law either. My boyfriend unexpectedly passed away. After his death I found an engagement ring and wedding band for me in his belongings. His parents refer to me as his fiancée. He was divorced and has a 19 year old daughter. All of his belongings are at my house which is in my name only. There is no will and nothing left for me or his daughter. His parents took over the financial responsibility of his funeral expenses in hopes that CPP will pay for it. My question is do I have any legal rights to his belongings? What rights does his daughter have? She didn’t live with us she lives with her mother. Am I entitled to CPP survivor’s pension? Any help it suggestions would be greatly appreciated. This is a difficult time but the stress from his ex and her family is overwhelming. Thank you.

  250. I’ve been living with my gf for 2.5 yrs I recently came home to find her and our 1.5yr old daughter gone. I contacted police who pretty much said without paper work possesion of the child is temp 9/10 of the law. I wish to see my daughter but the police have warned me not to go anwhere near my ex. I had received a call from my gf stating she was going to “rape me” for all i have and spousal support. I was working and paying for almost everything ever since we met and before our child was born. I lost my job due to injury a week before she left and am now unemployed. I have no money, no job, a car($1500) and am presently moving back in with my parents. Am I responsible to now pay spousal support? How do I get to see my child? do i get to see my child?

  251. Brian on said:

    I have been separated for almost four years; during that time, I’ve been paying child support; the amount was worked out between me and my ex on our own. I am not the biological father, but have loyally paid these amounts in good faith. I am in the process of finally getting the divorce proceedings going. My question is this: Since my ex has been living common-law since we split up, are my obligations the same? I will be paying the legal fees myself, so should I talk to my ex about our financial agreement, which we’ve had in place since the breakup, and continue to work it out with her? I want this divorce to be as simple as it can be, so, in order for that to happen, I’ve been told that all matters of the separation need to be left out of the proceedings.

  252. I am having a common law relationship with a guy since December 2011 till now. He has his own house, a bachelor with 4 children not living with him. He made a Domestic agreement together with his lawyer that I don’t have right for all his assets. (Of course not) He was under disability of cancer survivor (10 yrs passed) He pay his mortgage, bills (four times I share but cash). I am responsible our food & sometimes guest. I am doing all household chores laundry, cleaning, cooking (sometimes he help), gardening, cutting grass, shoveling snow, etc in our yard. When he got sick, and got 2 surgeries 2013 and 2014, recently (March 18) I am taking care for him for his daily activities nobody from his family cares. For my future, What is my right, should I sign this agreement or I have to go. Do I have any claims from him or compensation from my work?

  253. Rheanne on said:

    Hi, great article. I have a question with regards to my status. I’m living with this guy since June 2013 since i became his surety. He is separated but not divorce yet. I got pregnant and gave birth last January 2014. My questions are, in terms of Tax purposes are we considered common-law? and should i report this too to the child benefit tax? or am i still considered single since we didn’t live together for 12 consecutive months yet?

  254. Hello! amazing site and you are a great person for helping out others without being greedy as many other lawyers. I say thank you for helping your fellow man and I wish nothing but your continued success!

    Now my question,

    I have a long term girlfriend that I have visted on and off on weekends for 2-3 years and we have lived together for 1 year but due to other issues have moved back to our own parents home. Me at my parents and her at her parents. We are together still without any issues.

    My worry is at the moment I currently own and operate a small family business that is seasonal and closes for half the year. My girlfriend works with me at my family business and I pay her for it. I want to know what I need to do to protect business and my other assets. I currently have 2 properties in my name and my sisters name. I do not plan on getting married but would like to live with my girlfriend in the near future.

    I want to make sure that if our relationship goes sour after 3 years of continued cohabitation that I can protect my business and my assets as well as not having ro pay alimony or spousal support etc.

    Is there anyway that I can get legal documents that state once we break up its a clean break? like we are 15 and just break up and move on from eachother without me being sent to the cleaners?

    Thank you very much!

  255. I purchased a house less then a year ago with my girlfriend. We are both on the title. She has now decided she no longer wants to be in the relationship and does not want the house. I am planning on buying the house from her. We have come to an agreement on how much and have divided our furniture acquired together. Our split has been relatively civil. I want to know what steps to take to get the title change to my name. We have booked a meeting with the bank to sort out the transfer of mortgage. I would prefer not to use a lawyer if possible due to the costs, as we just had to pay legal fees when we purchased the house. Can I look after the transfer of title myself and just have the final document sign off by commission or something like that. Any information would be greatly appreciate.

  256. I just want to know what factor makes legal marriage better than common law marriage?

  257. I have been living with my girlfriend for 13 years, we bought a house together 11 years ago, we both put money in for the down payment, but my portion is much larger (90% to her 10%of the down payment), we are going to split, we both have put money into renovations and have bought things for the house. She says she wants her money for the renos she paid for and then we would split the rest,we still have a mortgage.
    When we sell the house, we would pay the mortgage off, the remaining equity/profit we make from the sale, would we split that in half (50/50)? or do we each get our down payment back and then split the profit?
    Also I paid the mortgage payments,utilities,property tax and up keep(minor repairs) of the home,she paid for food,entertainment ,clothes and things for our son and her 3 daughters that was our arrangement.
    What should I expect?

  258. sarah on said:

    After eight years of living together my common-law partner and I split on April 1, 2013. He has claimed bankruptcy leaving me with house payments and three maxed credit cards. In around June he switched over payments of a bank loan over to his bank. and was making the payments. On March 17,2014 I received a letter informing me the account was in arrears by the 21st I was getting calls from a collection agency. Do I have any legal recourse to go after at least half of this debt from my ex partner

  259. Caroline on said:

    My 48-year-old common-law spouse of 3 years passed away suddenly almost 3 years ago. We had been in a relationship for 10 years prior to living together. We had two children together and after his death I changed their last name to his, in his honor and something we always planned to do. Another thing we planned to do was get married at some point in the future. I received widow’s pension and the children receive their pension as well. I am 46 years old. There was no living will. I want to know if I can change my last name as well to my spouse’s. I’ve been thinking long and hard about this and don’t see getting married anytime in the near future. Until and if that happens I would love to carry my late spouse’s name. Is this possible and how do I proceed. I live in Ottawa, Ontario.

  260. Graeme on said:

    my ex girlfriend (common law) paid off the remaining balance of our joint line of credit account in order to re-finace her mortgage by herself. it was about $3000, she has threatened to possibly take me to court (i think she is bullshitting) i just wanted to know my rights and possibly get some advice. I am able to pay her but not all at once

  261. Hi. My girlfriend and I are now common law. She has been left with a substantial debt from her ex, who has all but disappeared and has refused paying for anything, including credit cards and a social assistance overpayment. It has been a couple years now, and with the struggling we have had to do because of this debt, and the increasing interested, we are to the point of almost having to claim bankruptcy. Is there ANYTHING that can be done to go after this guy for the debt he incurred while with her?

  262. Nikki on said:

    I just have a question…my boyfriend and I are living with his parents. I went to do my taxes today/yesterday March 26th, 2014 and at h & r Block they said we’re common law by having a child together who was born December 10, 2013. Would that make it true? I also cannot get my GST or Trillium until he signs this piece of paper that I have…he won’t until he talks to a lawyer.

  263. Linda on said:

    Hi,
    My husband and I separated in Feb 2012. I bought a new house, which is in my name only. In July 2013 my boyfriend and his teenage daughter moved in with my teenage daughter (that I share with my ex) and myself. He gives me half the mortgage and half the bill money. We split the groceries and share the maintenance work around the house. We renovated our main bath where I paid for the materials and he did the work. We are wanting to write out a co-hab agreement but have not done one yet. My question is this: If we break up (before the agreement is written) and he moves out, is he entitled to any property equity? Basically, will I have to buy him out in any way?
    I hope to hear from you.. thanks so much.

  264. I have a question regarding someone who has been living with a partner for over 21 years, the partner is over 80 yrs old and is in the hospital and is waiting for a long care facility, they reside in Ontario. As of a few days ago the hospital has started charging fees for staying there ($48 / day) until they can find a long term care home. This person cannot go home and also shows signs of dementia. the hospital has asked for his notice of assessment & also the “common law” spouse’s assessment. The partner has a house that they could sell to pay for his care and the “common law” person is willing to move out so the house can be sold. Does the “common law” partner legally have to combine their income and help pay for the hospital / long term care fees? What are the rights of the “common law” spouse when financial matters are involved, the “common law” spouse does not have their name on the house or any property, they did own a house but it was sold a couple of years ago. Thank you for your time.

  265. Just gained custody of Grandchild.
    Parents have never lived together,
    Father is now living common law with another woman.
    Child support for this child is a pittance.
    Could I take him back to court and include his new partners earnings when trying for more child support?

  266. Diane Harrison on said:

    I have been living common law now for almost 12 years and I was wondering if either one of us were to die how would we get survivor pension? Would we have actually get married or sign an affidavit?

  267. Alex on said:

    I have a question for you maybe you could shed some light for me. I practice real estate and as an agent we were trained to always require a spousal consent when listing a house for sale.

    If a scenario is a common law couple living in a matrimonial home and one of them is not on the property title….can the common law spouse who is on the title sell the house without the spousal consent of the other partner that is not on the title?

    Does spousal consent only works for married and not for common law?

    By the way this is pertaining to Family Law Act R.S.O. 1990

    I appreciate your help and thank you so much!

    If you ever need need to sell your house I’ll hook you up :) Cheers!

    Alex

  268. I’m paying my ex-husband $1200 month which started 2 yrs ago and is supposed to last for another 8 years till he retires. He is thinking of living in his girlfriend’s house in the near future. If he does, can I do anything about lowering or getting rid entirely of having to pay his spousal support? My financial situation is very difficult. I have trouble paying all of my own bills.

  269. Jacqueline on said:

    I am currently in family court. I left in March 2013. Same month my husband had a emergency motion brought against me indicating that our son is not safe around my new partner. I have done as the judge has asked and went and applied for criminal background check and ocl was involved. There has been no custody order issued yet. My question is can my husband go after my new partner for child support.

  270. Meena on said:

    Dear sir.
    In current scenario how current law help to woman & how to proceed if situation is as follow in Canada.
    I came last month in canada against sponsor(My husband)-spouse visa. Marriage held in India.
    But when i came my husband was not available to the given address but he has shifted to the place which he didn’t inform me so i am currently with my relative residence. I tried to contact with my husband but he is not replying to it, even i mailed to his official email Id being stated in application while sponsored,but no reply.
    Already a month passed but he is not responding. He is in canada but neglecting me to arrange for staying arrangement.
    So plz let me know any information how to proceed.
    Regds,
    Meena

  271. Pingback: Real Estate Help | Advice In Real Estate Transaction | Filipino Real Estate Agent In Toronto | Filipino Real Estate Agent In Markham

  272. Hi
    Me and wife living in Ontario and we decided to live separate three months before .. Now we are living different address no separation agreement made till date.
    my wife have her own house and we don’t have kids.Now i am planning to buy a house in my name only, but lawyer asked a separation agreement. Do i required this type of document to buy a home in my name using my own money ?

    Kindly help

    Sam

  273. I have been living common law for about 4 years. I have a debt and He has none. Would my debt have anything to do with him, and would he also be held responsible for it? I also have no income.

  274. Sandi on said:

    I have been living in a common-law relationship for 10 years, last June he left to work far away for 2 months which has become longer. In that time he has not contributed in any way to the financial upkeep of the house, prior to that there was very little contribution. The house is in both our names, however it was entirely paid for my me, primarily through an inheritance (I know should never have put in both names). The house is up for sale and I am supposed to be moving to be with him, however there have been a few indications that perhaps this is not what is going to happen when the house actually sells and I would like to be prepared and know what I may be able to do.

  275. How do I get someone out of my home. I have given two written request via email, the second I show compassion and grace 90 days, hoping this would limit excuses. Told her in front of a counsellor I no longer want her living with me. She refuses to go. She’s been here just over a year and I have regretted allowing her in since day one. The sooner she leaves the better.

    Thank you
    Dave

  276. I was in a common law relationship and we purchased a home together. We are both joint owners. Now separated and I left the home. He has now moved his girlfriend into the home without my permission. Can I send a notice to vacate? Presently there is a motion for partition and sale.

  277. Jenny on said:

    I had a common law relationship with a man for around 8 years, the last 4 years of the relationship we were living in a house together ( purchased by my parents and myself, he is not on the title of the house nor did he contribute to the down payment). I broke our relationship off and now he is requesting money for having helped pay the mortgage during the 4 years we were in the house together. We did have a joint bank account during this time. Is he entitled to money from me? Also what does filing unjust enrichment entail and how would he prove this claim? Thank so much

  278. Sophie on said:

    Hello- sorry this is a bit long but its a complicated situation…. I deeply appreciate any advice you might have to offer.

    My partner and I lived together and had an intimate relationship for 8 years. He had massive debts at high interest rates when we got together, so , although I was in graduate school, I have financially supported the whole family – including his daughter (who lived with me/us full time) and my own two girls – all on scholarships and teaching contracts. I purchased the cars, the house, the groceries, and paid all the bills (except for his cellphone and his auto insurance) – primarily because he has a terrible credit rating (from a bankruptcy). He was working full-time for the majority of this time, earning as much or more than I was – but we had decided that I’d carry us while he paid off his debts – and then we’d pay off mine. I did most of the housework and childcare; when we renovated the house, I spent as many hours working on it as he did (and I paid all the bills).

    We have recently split up. I gave him $2000 for first and last, and lent him $2000 for start-up costs, gave him use of a vehicle for a month, and allowed him to keep one of my credit cards for a month in case of emergency – with the written provision that it was for emergency use only and had to be immediately paid off. A few months before I paid off his student loans by putting $10K on my line of credit, and I have also been carrying about $17,000 in jointly acquired debt on it. I drafted a separation agreement proposing that he pay back the 10K and pay 1/3 of our jointly acquired debt. I have about 15K of student loans of my own to pay off, and approx. 5K on my credit card, which I will assume along with the remaining 2/3 of the line of credit. I thought I was being kind but perhaps the word I’m looking for is ‘stupid.’

    Today I discovered almost 2K of his charges on my credit card (from since we separated) – none of which are ‘emergency’ expenses. He had verbally agreed to the separation agreement terms outlined above but now says there are ‘big problems’ with it (but won’t specify them on paper). He won’t say when he’ll pay me back. He says that legally I have to support him so I should not complain.

    The added wrinkle is that, after 5 years in a federal public service job earning about 55K (virtually none of which went into household costs) he’s been off work for a year with mental health problems. He has been eligible for long term disability at a rate of roughly $3500/month since last August but has yet to complete the paperwork. One year ago, I finally got a good position – earning 70K – but I am totally broke and struggling to carry all of our debt. There were no tax deductions at source (its a fellowship) so now I have a huge tax bill due – and not enough room on the line of credit to pay it.

    I did everything I could to support him for as long as possible but the girls’ therapist told me they needed him to go. I have financially carried him and my step daughter for 8 years. Now, because I have a secure future as a professor, and he is mentally unstable, could he claim ongoing spousal support? He put ‘single’ on his tax returns and kept his own post box, all along – but I doubt that matters.

    I appreciate any advice you can provide – I doubt I’ll ever get him to sign a separation agreement, or respect its terms, so I may never see a cent from him – but I need to know my own legal obligations.

    Thank you!
    S

  279. I have been with my common law spouse for 9 years, lived together for 8 of those years. He left me without reason 5 weeks ago. About a year ago he told me to leave my job and that he would support us and we could take time to travel more together. So I did what he said. He is the sole provider, and he always had been throughout our relationship when it comes to paying all bills/rent etc. In a three month period, he makes what most people make in a year. He’s kicked me out of our home, and has cancelled our joint credit card and bank accounts. I have no money to live, and I have been struggling to find a job and a place to live. What should I do? Am I entitled to spousal support? What do I need to do to get it? This is the hardest time of my life.

  280. Hi, I’ve lived in a common law relationship for 2 1/2 years. I purchased a house with the help of my common law’s parents consigning. I put down $90,000 and put around $40,000 into renovations. This money was an inheritance of mine which i received before our relationship. We had a child 14 months ago and things have just become sour between the two of us. I feel as if this relationship isn’t healthy for either of us or our child. We’ve discussed splitting up and she feels she’s entitled to half of the house or everything for that matter. Her name is not on the mortgage. I own 99% and my common laws parent’s own 1%. She was out of work due to the birth of our child and was unable to contribute to the house payments or bills. We’ve had an appraisal done on the house and there is about $185,000 in equity in the house after renovations and down payment. What is she entitled to; half?? I understand I would make child support payments, what about spousal support? This thing has become pretty nasty and she threatens she will take half of everything. Are her thoughts valid? Thanks in advance for your response.

    Matt

  281. Sandi Davidson on said:

    I have been living with my boyfriend for 7 almost 8 years. Yup we have now broken up. We saved together for a down payment on a house (an RRSP) in his name because his company added extra – this down payment came out of our household income – we had to cut back on a lot to come up with it – and then on closing day I added another 1000.00 to his bank account or we would have been short. I had a family Realtor and I choose the house we bought, only his name is on the title/mortgage. We both worked but he made more and we both paid the bills. We did extensive renovations on the house over the last three years and the value of the house is up 40 thousand he did most of the labor but I did the clean up, design, shopping etc., It was always going to be our house, we where engaged, with a date picked and deposits made for our wedding. He didn’t have a penny to his name before we met (I moved his stuff in a two door sunfire, 1 trip) I furnished the house, paid utilities, groceries now my car is older, my furniture is older not to mention I am older (lol) and he is up 40k. I believe in Ontario this is ground for Constructive Trust Claim? also I am currently in the house he is staying at a friends – I know I am getting the boot because my name is not on the title should I continue to pay the utilities? if I do I won’t have any money to move out when the time comes.,

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