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Questions & Answers

Common Law

Three months ago I was diagnosed with cancer and its terminal. I’m still in the hospital and now receiving treatment. I have lived common law for 4 yrs and we have an 18 month old son. I own the house that my boyfriend and son are still living in. Right after I was diagnosed my boyfriend would not allow me to see my son. I have asked him to find other means of accommodations as I could no longer afford to make mortgage payments, or pay house hold bills and would have to put the house on the market. He refuses to leave and find somewhere else to live with our son. He now informs me he has taken out a caution clause against the house. I can’t get the real estate people to put a for sale sign on the property as he says he will call the cops. I have called the OPP and they say I can’t go forth as the home belongs 50% to him because we have lived common law for longer than one year. I no longer can have my parents enter on the property to pick up my things that I may need otherwise the OPP said they would be charged.
I would make an appointment but because of still being in the hospital in Toronto and very ill, I was wondering if I should just cut my losses and let the house go back to the bank, stop paying the bills, but all I want is custody of my child an to be able to see him. Or would I be charged or loose my son, because I put them both out, and I stop paying hydro and they cut it off? Would I have my son taken from me for doing this?
I’m at a loss and running out of money very quickly.

— Victoria B.


Dear Victoria, It sounds like you are in a very difficult situation. You would benefit greatly from a consultation with one our lawyers. We could do it over the telephone. The OPP have given you wrong information about ownership of the home. Your common law husband does not automatically own half of it. He may have some claim to a portion of it but not likely half, depending on the circumstances. Get a consultation before you make a decision. There is much at stake here.

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