Real Estate Lawyer Guelph

Property Claims: Married vs. Common Law

One may be surprised to learn that in Ontario, married and common law couples are not accorded the same treatment when it comes to property division on separation. When a relationship comes to an end, common law partners and wedded couples are treated differently under the law in issues surrounding property division.

Property division is governed by the Ontario Family Law Act. The Act assumes that marriage is an economic partnership, and accordingly, and subject to some exceptions, it provides for a division of all assets acquired by the parties during the marriage, regardless of how title is held. This is referred to as an equalization of property. This assumption does not apply to common law relationships, and in this regard, common law spouses are not eligible for a division of property under family law legislation.

Nevertheless, there are options for common law spouses who believe they are entitled to property in their spouse’s name under the common law doctrine of constructive trust. Because these types of claims are complex and can become costly to litigate, common law couples should consider entering into cohabitation agreements which would govern the division of property on relationship breakdown.

If you are planning to or currently cohabiting with your common law partner, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options.

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements in Ontario govern the division of property and property claims in the even of a breakdown of a common law relationship. Without a cohabitation agreement, partners may end up in litigation lasting months, or feel they aren’t receiving property to which they are entitled.

A cohabitation agreement allow couples to be bound by their own agreement on whether they have rights to share in each other’s property, support obligations, or share in estate upon death. Upon the dissolution of a relationship, these agreements act as the defining guidelines for dividing (or, not dividing) property.

Cohabitation agreements should be signed at the beginning of a relationship, before a couple even begins to live together. However, this is not always practical. They can be signed at any point in a relationship, but should always be completed before a couple starts living together. This ensures that both parties agree to continue their relationship with the same understanding of how they share finances and property.

A cohabitation agreement should always be prepared by a qualified lawyer to prevent any ambiguity or complications.

Contact Vandeputte Law Hamilton

If you have questions about property claims at the dissolution of a marriage or common law relationship, Vandeputte Law can help. We have the experience necessary to help you navigate these processes and find the best solution. Your well-being is our priority!

Contact Vandeputte Law for more information about property claims, cohabitation agreements, and family law matters. We will find the best solution for you and your family.

Contact us today.

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