Joint Venturers or Just “Common Law”

Question:

It’s been a while since I’ve dealt with the rights for common law couples. They’ve been living together for approximately 15 YEARS… all in his name. She now knows he’s had another partner for the last 2 years. He clearly wants her out of the home now. She has nothing. I don’t know what rights she has, if any, to the equity in the home (easily $300K equity in the home)….?

Answer:

Really, this has very little to do with real estate, so be very, very careful with any advice that you might give, other than, of course, to refer her to a lawyer.

By reason of the length of time that they have been together, one person may owe the other support. So, it could be that she is obliged to pay him monthly support, or, it might be the other way around.

There may have been some sort of arrangement between them. The major problem with this, is that they never wrote it down and now we have two separate self-serving versions of the deal, whatever that happened to be.

If she actually contributed money to the house, that would be good. A Court might impose a trust upon him to protect her interest. However, in some cases, people simply contribute some overall funds towards the groceries etc….. so this might be considered more like rent.

The best scenario for her would be to have the Courts recognize their arrangement as a joint venture, in which case, she likely gets about half.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

www.OntarioRealEstateSource.com

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