In Ontario, the rights of individuals who are married differ to the rights of those who live together but are not married. For instance, married spouses: have a shared right to their matrimonial home regardless of who is the registered owner of the property; have a right to share in the value of property acquired during the marriage (which is known as an equalization in net family property); and may also be entitled to receive spousal support payments from the other spouse for a specific period of time following their breakup.

In contrast, people who live together but are not married (also known as a common-law couple) do not have automatic legal rights and safeguards in place compared to married couples: they do not have a right to an equalization of property upon a breakup; they are more limited in their rights to spousal support; and property rights generally must be asserted through trust claims.

Instead of leaving the determination of their legal rights and obligations entirely to the law, many couples enter into prenuptial (marriage) agreements or cohabitation agreements to set out each person’s legal rights and obligations. These agreements often deal with matters including spousal support, ownership or property, and division of property in the event of a breakup.
Raising the topic of a prenuptial (marriage) agreement or a cohabitation agreement with your partner may seem awkward. However, it is a pivotal step that one can take to protect themselves financially and emotionally in the event of a future breakup.

It is important to retain a family law lawyer to help draft a legal and all-encompassing prenuptial (marriage) agreement or a cohabitation agreement that you can safely rely on in the event of a breakup. At Kamalie Law, our team of lawyers is able to assist you with drafting such agreements as well as reviewing and challenging the legality of any existing agreement. Contact Kamalie Law for a free consultation.

Frequently asked questions

A breach of contract happens when one party under the contract fails to fulfill their obligations – either partially, or fully. This means that someone (a person or a corporation) either did something that they were not supposed to do or did not do something that they were supposed to do. Their conduct has shown that they are not honouring the contract. 

While this is a broad definition, there are multiple types of breach of contract and multiple ways that a breach of contract can be resolved. While we may naturally think of one party simply failing to pay or someone failing to deliver goods or services, there are multiple different parts of a contract that can be breached, and the remedies may be different in different situations. 

There are two main remedies that litigants seek and are awarded in a breach of contract lawsuit.

An award of damages is one of the most well-known remedies. The innocent party may seek all out-of-pocket expenses and unquantified damages (i.e., loss of business, reputational losses, etc.) that it has suffered as a result of the defaulting party. However, the question of what damages may be claimed and awarded is not always met with a simple answer. Although most damages suffered can be claimed, courts will often exclude damage that it considers to be ‘remote’, or which was not a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ consequence of the breach of contract. 

Another remedy is called specific performance, which is a court declaration requiring a contracting party to fulfill its contractual obligations. This remedy is typically only granted when courts determine that damages are an inadequate remedy. It must be noted, however, that a declaration for specific performance does not actually force a party to fulfill their contractual obligations. In other words, although a court may award specific performance, the defaulting party may choose to ignore the order and to continue acting in breach of contract. In such situations, the innocent party may proceed to seek damages and may seek an order that the defaulting party is in contempt of court.

At Kamalie Law, our lawyers have extensive experience in litigating and resolving contract disputes. We have represented both the innocent party that wishes to commence a claim as well as the party who is alleged to be in breach of contract and is forced to defend a claim. In each scenario, our primary objective is to determine our client’s objectives and to formulate a strategy that will achieve that objective in the least time possible. 


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