If you are married, you have property rights as set out in the Family Law Act. This generally includes the right to apply for an equalization of net family property (a sharing of the property accumulated during the marriage). Some property gets special treatment, such as gifts, inheritances, insurance money, and the matrimonial home. Consulting a lawyer will assist you in determining the amount of the equalization payment and can assist you in dealing with the matrimonial home, including who can live in the house, and can help with the sale of the matrimonial home if necessary.
Property issues for common law spouses are very different from those of married spouses. A person in a common law relationship does not automatically gain any rights to the property of the other spouse. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. You may have property rights if you have paid for improvements to the home owned by the other spouse, or contributed to an RSP, business, bank account, farm, or other property. If the court decides that you have a property interest, then the court will decide that the other spouse is holding that property ‘in trust’ for both spouses. There are a number of factors to consider when determining whether you should attempt to receive compensation for your contribution. Consulting a lawyer will help you make this determination.