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Ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 3526
Experience:  11 years experience in Canada family law, plus criminal, civil, and employment
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I have been in a common law relationship past 7-8 years.

Customer Question

I have been in a common law relationship for the past 7-8 years. I have 2 children from a previous marriage that I have every other weekend. She has one child from a previous marriage, that for the most part has resided with us. During our relationship she has never held permanent employment. I have paid for her to go back to school, and she is still unable to keep a job. The home we live in is in my name and she has made no financial contributions. For most of our relationship I have worked Saturdays, and therefore she has looked after my children (and hers) every other weekend. She is extremely abusive and mentally unwell. Due to this she has now lost custody of her son. I would like to end our relationship and have her leave the home. She has threatened to go after me for half the house and for monthly support payments. She has left the home and gone to the US to stay with her Mom at this time. What are my legal rights? Can I simply change the locks and not allow her back into the home. I need to get something legally in place soon, my ex-wife will not allow our children to visit me in my home if she is present. (I am in Alberta)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thank you for the question.You're not legally married to this woman, right?Who is on title to the home?When did she go to her mother's? She's expecting to come back?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are not legally marriedI am the only one on title to the homeShe went to her Mother's last night. I expect her to come back, but do not know when that might be.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.
OK, it's time to make some decisions. If you tell her that the relationship is over, is she likely to stay in the US?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, she will not stay in the US. She will definitely be coming back.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.
I see. The simple answer to your question is this: since you're not legally married and you're solely on title you're free to change the locks.However, it would be easy for her to make you look like the bad guy if you did that now. Strategically, I don't recommend it.If she's entitled to spousal support from you, locking her out isn't going to help you if she makes you look like a jerk. Regarding spousal support, go to and plug in some figures to get an idea of what a judge might order in your situation. It depends on a variety of factors. Her entitlement to the equity in the home also doesn't change by you locking her out. After 7+ years she will be entitled to something. I'm not saying it will be half. It depends on how much she's put into the home and how much it has appreciated in value since you started living together.So you might well want to contact her, tell her that it's over and that you'll work out division of property issues when she gets back, but that you are going to have a really hard time with your own ex if she comes back to the home to stay. Perhaps suggest that she arrange for somewhere else to stay, and that you're not going to interfere in her coming by to pick up clothes and some of the furniture and goods she needs to get settled. Don't get into a fight over it with her, and if any of this is in writing you must do your best to keep it civil. If you and your ex have a court order or contract or something about custody/access, then assure your ex that this woman is on her way out, and anyway your ex doesn't have discretionary authority over your access (I assume). Thus, you can agree with the mother in principle but make sure she understands that you're going along with it short term in the children's best interests not because mother is insisting on it. It might be wise to keep the kids away from your place for a short period. Exercise your access, but don't do it at your home until after you change the locks.Once you have the separation process started then change the locks. You ought not simply change the locks and tell her to get lost. Having said all that, you should have an exit strategy in place. Go see a lawyer and talk about retaining, about drafting a separation agreement, about valuating the home, and about whether you should make an offer right out of the gate. I know that you feel under some time pressure here but important decisions made in a rush rarely work out.Does that make sense? I'll await your comment or question. If I've answered you then I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.
Did you get a chance to read what I wrote? Did it help?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank-you for your response. I will definitely need to consult with a lawyer. Since she has contributed zero financially to the home I am hopeful that a judge wouldn't rule that she is entitled to half of the equity. I believe she would have to make an unjust enrichment claim, which to my understanding is difficult to prove. Do you feel that I would be required to pay her spousal support, when she is capable of working and just has simply chosen not to for years?
Expert:  Ulysses101 replied 1 year ago.
Start with the spousal support calculator at and plug in numbers. Play with it to get an idea of the ranges you're dealing with. After 7-8 years, you're definitely on the hook for something if your income is higher than hers. How much and for how long is up to the judge.I doubt highly that she'd be awarded half of the value of the home. But I have to point out your worst case scenario. A family law lawyer you consult with will give you a better idea based on the specifics you provide.Anything else about this to discuss?