Can a Common-Law Spouse Kick His Long Term Common-Law Partner Out of the Home Because He Owns It?

Home owned by one common law partnerLiving common law is very different from being married, and one important difference is that common law couples do not have a matrimonial home.  Married couples cannot kick each other out of the home (or homes) in which they live.  (See this page or watch this video for more on matrimonial homes).


Aside from the ability of common-law couples to get Family Law Restraining Orders against each other (see the criteria for restraining orders on this page), they do not have any additional rights than other “room-mates”, “co-tenants” or “boarders.”  In Ontario, being common law does not give partners rights to each other’s property.  Even the restraining order may not permit the non-owner to kick out the owning spouse.  The restraining order does not block the common-law partner who owns the house from making an application to the Landlord and Tenant Board to have the non-owning partner removed.  A judge may not grant a restraining order against a common-law partner to keep that partner out of his or her own property.


However, if one common-law spouse does kick out the other, the "kicked-out" spouse should be in a position to secure alternative accommodations.  If, after a long term relationship in which the parties lived together, a common-law spouse is kicking out the other and cutting off access to money that the kicked-out partner needs, a court will be quick to make an award for spousal support, and a the Judge may feel inclined to make that a large award to ensure that lifestyle does not change for the kicked-out partner.  To learn about spousal support, and how it may apply in your case, watch this video  or listen to this podcast.  However, spousal support can be a tricky issue, so it is best to talk about your case with a good family law lawyer.


A non-owner common-law partner may also be able to claim to be a part owner of the home after 21 years.  If a court found that that the non-titled partner is a part owner, that partner could also get an order permitting him or her to stay in the house, at least until it is sold.  But, that is a very complex, and often difficult, case to make.  So you really have to speak to a lawyer about it. 


This is certainly a difficult situation.  There may be other things you could do, which you can only find out by discussing over your situation in detail with a good family lawyer.   In all cases of domestic violence, it is always get the help of a lawyer to level the playing field and make sure no makes a bad decision because of threats or intimidation.


There is a lot more about common-law relationships, including a video about the rights of common-law partners, on this page.  

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law


To learn a lot more about common-law relationships, property rights, restraining orders, child support and spousal support, as well as most other family law issues, and to get a description of all the options available on the breakdown of a relationship, get a copy of this $20, easy-to-understand book on the basics of Ontario Family Law  

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


However, to make sure your rights as a common-law spouse are protected, you really should speak to a top family law lawyer.  John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law practicing in Toronto and throughout the GTA and Ontario.  You can reach him using the phone number at the top of the page, or the contact form below.  You can also use the contact form to comment on this post.


Thousands of people use this website every month to help them with their family law needs. If you have found this page helpful, feel free to share it on your social network using the buttons at the bottom of this page.  There is lots of information about family law issues on this website (although not as much as in the book or you could get from meeting with John.  Use the links throughout, or the search box on the right, to find out more about the topics that interest you.

© John P. Schuman 2014