In common-law break-up, do you own half the house if you paid half the bills (but are not on title)?

Home owned by in-laws

Under Ontario Law, only married couples have properly division on separation.  Common law couples do not.  Foran explanation of what it means to be “common-law” when you separate, see this page,  which also has a useful video on it.


However, if you have contributed to the property more than you would have paid for rent to live there, it is may be possible for you to make claim that you own part of the property.  It is a complicated claim to make, and you really need a lawyer to do it.   This is a principal of "equity".  It applies to any two people who have contributed to an asset, not just common law couples.  For more about this type of claim, see this page.  If you can't make that claim, but have suffered a financial hardship as a result of the breakdown of the relationship, you may be able to make a claim for spousal support.  Watch this video or listen to this podcast.


These principles, and all the law that applies to common law couples on the breakdown of their relationship, as well as an explanation of family court and the alternatives to court, are all explained in this $20 easy to understand book about Ontario Family Law.


WARNING you may only have two years to make the claim, so don’t wait to see a lawyer.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


If you have more questions about being common law, or common-law separations, then you can contact John Schuman by calling 416-446-5847 or using the form below.  You can also use that form to comment on this article.  If you found this page useful, please share it on you social network using the pages below.


© John P. Schuman 2014