Couples often have many questions about how to blend lives while protecting themselves financially. While many are familiar with how Ontario family law treats property division between married couples, there are often questions about how these laws apply to common-law relationships. Those who are purchasing property with a common-law partner may have questions about what can happen in case of a breakup or an unexpected death.
People buying property with their partners should discuss how the property fits into their estate plans, as well as what would happen to the property should the relationship dissolve. Under Ontario family law, each common-law spouse has an equal stake in the matrimonial home unless otherwise noted by a prenuptial agreement or another binding contract. This also applies to debts in the home such as the mortgage.
Typically, a couple who breaks up will sell the property and split the amount made from this sale. One partner may also pay the other the equivalent of his or her stake in the home to remain living there. Getting an appraisal on a home owned by one partner before the other moves into it is often a good idea. It can help identify how much of a stake the person moving in has should they break up in the future.
Contracts such as prenuptial agreements are often considered by couples looking to clarify any potential property division. Those who are separating may have questions about what can be done to protect their stake in a property that was owned prior to the relationship. Speaking to a lawyer who is experienced in Ontario family law matters can help clarify these issues.
Source: MoneySense, "How to split condo ownership fairly when moving in together", Romana King, Jan. 10, 2018