The end of a relationship, common law partnership or marriage is never easy for anyone. It’s even more upsetting when there are children involved. On the other hand, it may be best for all parties to go their separate ways. This way, you get a chance to start fresh on your own.
The circumstances are unique in each case, but legally one set of regulations applies to common law partners and another to married spouses.
When you and your partner are separating
It’s usually easier to separate when living as common law partners compared to being a married couple. A property division can be an option if one of you wants it to be. Then you’ll have to go through your joint assets, value your debts and divide everything between you. However, you don’t need to do this if there’s a cohabitation agreement signed by both of you, where it’s made clear what belongs to whom in case of a separation. If one of you owns a home since before you became common law partners, that person is entitled to keep the home. However, it’s important that the intention to the purchase of the home is made clear. If it was bought for both of you to live in, legally each of you own half of the home.
When your marriage ends
It’s a little trickier if you’re married and is thinking about separating. On the other hand, it can be done much more smoothly if you have a prenuptial agreement. You have to do a property division regardless, but what’s written in a prenuptial agreement, deed of gift or will won’t be included in the division. There’s also an opportunity here for you if you think you have more of a right to your home, to argue your case. If children are included in the picture, the home belongs to the parent who lives with the children. But it’s important to remember that if it’s a property or condominium, whoever leaves the home also receives a corresponding financial compensation for this.