Addressing The Unique Legal Status Of Common Law Separation

When common law spouses separate, there are unique issues that need to be addressed. Common law spouses do not have the same rights to possession of a matrimonial home or to an equalization of net family property as married couples do. Generally, property is divided according to ownership unless a claim for unjust enrichment or other trust claim is made. In addition, child custody, access, support and other issues associated with a traditional divorce must also be considered.

These matters can become quite complex, and having a qualified common law separation lawyer can help to ensure that your interests are protected. At Nathens, Siegel LLP, we represent spouses throughout the Greater Toronto Area in all aspects and at all stages of a common law separation. Our entire practice is dedicated to family law, and we work tirelessly to obtain the most favourable outcome available in your case.

Common Law Relationships – The Risks Ex-Spouses Face
During Separation

The law does not provide the same automatic property rights to common law spouses as it does to married spouses. While married spouses are entitled to a share of the property accumulated during the marriage, there is no such provision in the Family Law Act for common law couples. In these cases, common law and equitable principles are used to resolve property division disputes.

Unjust Enrichment Claims – Protection For Cohabiting Spouses

Many common law spouses seek to protect their property interests through unjust enrichment/trust claims. In order to prove an unjust enrichment claim, the moving party must demonstrate:

  • One spouse has been enriched/received a benefit
  • There is a corresponding deprivation/loss to the other spouse
  • There is no juristic reason for the enrichment

When an unjust enrichment claim is successful, the claimant can be compensated with a property interest or with a monetary payment. Our lawyers' experience representing both claimants and defendants in these matters enables us to provide much more effective representation to each client we serve in the pursuit of unjust enrichment claims.

Schedule A Reduced Rate Consultation With Our Lawyers

Contact our office in Mississauga or North York, Ontario, to discuss your common law separation issues with a lawyer. Our initial consultations are offered at a reduced rate. You can reach us by phone at 1-888-353-1817 or via email to get started.