Even real love can end; learn how to keep your stuff when breaking up.

I still have this pink coat. Taking offers.

“Love and trust won’t cut it.”

About a year ago, a conversation between Kristy Maurina and her good friend veered toward relationships.

“My boyfriend and I have been living together for six months, I’m going to owe him half of my stuff,” the friend said to Ms. Maurina.

Some provinces allow you to register your coupledom as a “civil union” or a “domestic partnership.” In Nova Scotia, for example, you just fill out a form for $22.68 and get the same rights as married couples under the law. If the relationship goes to crap, a Statement of Termination costs $30.29. (How cold would that be? A Dear John letter accompanied by three tens and three dimes.)That’s wrong, Ms. Maurina told her and she is in a position to know as a Toronto-based family law lawyer.

“She is not different from so many of the clients who come in and meet with me,” Maurina says. “The people coming into my office have all of these misconceptions. It’s always the same thing: a friend of a friend told me that I was entitled to this.”

I’ve also heard horror stories: a friend of a friend, for example, is facing legal bills in the tens of thousands to fight her ex-boyfriend who is suing her for spousal support and payments to her mortgage. In my own ignorance years ago, I thrust a rental agreement in my boyfriend’s face, thinking if he signed it that my condo would be protected if the relationship imploded.

Widespread confusion is understandable.

Read the rest of the article in the Financial Post: Common-law couples need to clear up financial confusion.


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