Like most answers from lawyers, it depends.
If the employer had valid “cause” to terminate your employment, then the employer does not owe you anything. If you are terminated “without cause”, then the employer is required to give you notice of your termination, or pay in lieu of. Most people have heard of the Employment Standards Act (ESA), but it’s important to recognize that this is minimum legislation. For some employees, the difference between ESA entitlement versus common law entitlement can be as much as 2 year’s salary!
If you’re an employee facing termination, or an employer considering the termination an employee, it’s best to speak with an employment lawyer before doing anything. Getting the right advice today will help avoid disputes tomorrow.
You are separated when you are not living together and it is not likely that you will live together again. Usually you will need to decide who will stay in the family home, who will take care of the children, who will pay family debts, how much support will be paid, and how will property be divided?
You can resolve things in different ways.
Unless the circumstances of your separation make it unsafe to negotiate, it is better if the two of you can agree on how to settle the issues between you through negotiation, mediation or collaborative family law. Court proceedings can be very expensive and take a long time.
Signing a separation agreement is a very important step. Your decisions now can affect you and your children for the rest of your lives. If in the future, one of you decides you don’t like the agreement, you can try to negotiate a new agreement. If you cannot agree you have to go to court and ask a judge to change it. A separation agreement is a contract that you must honour.
The law leaves the decision about settling your family law issues to you. You may have a hard time proving that you and your spouse had promised to settle things a certain way if you do not have a written and signed separation agreement.
A lawyer or mediator can help you decide what would be best for you and ensure the agreement is legally binding.
If you live with someone without being married you are in a common law relationship or are cohabiting.
Common law couples do not have the same rights as married couples to share the property they bought when they were living together. Usually, furniture, household belongings and other property belong to the person who bought them. Common law couples also do not have the right to divide between them the increase in value of the property they brought with them to the relationship.
If you have contributed to property your spouse owns, you may have a right to part of it. Unless your spouse agrees to pay you back through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration, you may have to go to court to get back your contribution.
If your common law relationship ends, and you do not have enough money to support yourself, you can ask your spouse to pay support. You can ask for support for yourself if you have been living together for three years, or if you have lived together for less time and have had or adopted a child together. You and your spouse can settle on an amount for support through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. If you can’t resolve the issues, you can go to court and ask a judge to decide if you should get support.
If you and your spouse have or adopt a child together, you can ask for support for that child. Children of parents living in a common law relationship have the same rights to support from their parents as the children of married couples. If your spouse treated your child as their child while you lived together, you can also ask for support. You can settle on support for your child through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or arbitration. If you can’t resolve the issues, you can go to court and ask a judge to order your spouse to pay support for that child. The amount of support is set under the Child Support Guidelines.
As part of a support order for you or your child, you may also ask to stay in the home you shared when you lived together. The judge can order this even if you do not own the home, or if your name is not on the lease. This is different than for married couples. Married couples automatically have an equal right to stay in the home. If you do not get support, you do not have the right to stay in the home if it is not yours.
Couples in a common law relationship can sign a cohabitation agreement to protect their rights.
A cohabitation agreement can spell out what you both want your financial and family arrangements to be. It can say who owns the things you buy while you are living together. It can say how much support will be paid if the relationship ends and how your property will be divided. It can say who has to move out of the home if the relationship ends.
It cannot say who will have custody of, or access to, your children if your relationship ends. You cannot decide this before the relationship is over.
Both of you must sign a cohabitation agreement in front of a witness for it to be legal. The witness must also sign the agreement. Once you have signed a cohabitation agreement, you must follow what it says. If one of you decides you don’t like the agreement, you can negotiate a change to the agreement. Any change must also be in writing and signed in front of a witness. If you cannot agree, and you have now separated, you have to go to court and ask a judge to decide the issues between you.
You should each speak to a different lawyer and exchange financial information before signing a cohabitation agreement.
When you get married, the law treats your marriage as an equal economic partnership. If your marriage ends, the value of the property you acquired while you were married and the increase in the value of property you brought into your marriage will be divided in half: one half for you and one half for your husband or wife. There are exceptions to this rule.
The law also provides that you and your husband or wife have an equal right to stay in the family home. If you separate, you will have to decide who will continue to live there.
In addition, Ontario’s family laws provide that you may be entitled to financial support for yourself and your children when your marriage ends.
Getting married results in your existing will being revoked, unless the will states that it was made in anticipation of the marriage. You may therefore need a new will after you marry.
Couples who feel that the law does not suit the kind of relationship they have can make other arrangements in a marriage contract.
In a marriage contract you can say what you expect from each other during your marriage. You can list property that you are bringing into the marriage and say how much it is worth and who owns it. You can say exactly how you will divide your property if your marriage ends. You do not have to divide your property equally. You can describe how support payments will be made if your marriage ends. You can also make plans for the education and religious upbringing of your children, even if they are not yet born.
There are some things you cannot put in your marriage contract. You cannot make promises about custody and access arrangements for your children if your marriage breaks down. You cannot change the law that says each spouse has an equal right to live in their home.
Even if you’re already married, you can still enter into a Marriage Contract.