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Common Law Question

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Anonymous Asked:

My common law relationship ended approximately eight months ago, I have allowed my ex common law partner to live in the house that is owned jointly by myself and my mother. I continue to pay ALL the costs for the house including mortgage and all utilities. My ex changed the locks on the house and refused to provide me with a key, I changed the locks myself when she left the house for a weekend. The police were called and I ended up giving her a key to the new locks. I want to move my adult daughter into the house immediately, I have already advised my ex that she will need to leave the house in the near future. Am I legally allowed to follow this course of action. (The police indicated that my ex has a right of residency and i could not enter the home without her permission)

Expert Comment:

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Lorne J. Fine, B.A., LL.B.
7 years ago

If your common law spouse made a financial contribution to the residence, it may be possible that she has a claim to the property. Although you are not married, there is now a concept called "joint family venture" that allows a common law spouse to claim an interest in all property accumulated during the relationship. If your common law spouse is not prepared to vacate the house voluntarily, it will be necessary to bring a motion to the court for possession of the house. Until it is determined by the court, I do not believe that it is proper for either party to change the locks to the house. I do not believe that she can stop you from moving your daughter into the house, however, that action will likely only escalate matters. Please contact us if you require our assistance (416-661-2066).

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