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"If you live together three years and don’t have kids, you are treated as a spouse for support purposes," said Brownstone, but stressed that "spousal support is not that common." In Alberta, an adult interdependent partner can bring a claim for spousal support, and the same can be done for common-law couples in Newfoundland.
Under New Brunswick’s Family Services Act, spousal support is also possible for common-law couples.
But that is independent of actual provincial legislation." Living together in a relationship similar to marriage may make you "common law" in most provinces, but it does nothing with regards to the division of property acquired during the relationship unless a cohabitation agreement or some other form of legal agreement was made between the couple.
In Ontario, "There’s no such thing as matrimonial property in these relationships," said Justice Brownstone.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in January 2013 that provinces had the right to decide if common law couples should get the same rights as married couples, and so has allowed Quebec to continue excluding common-law-style relationships from being recognized no matter how long two people have lived together. This week on CBC Live Online, host Lauren O'Neil speak with experts about the patchwork of marriage-like designations for common law couples across Canada. However, the notion of living "common law" is a complicated one, and its meaning varies greatly across Canada. that grants common-law partners the same fundamental rights as married couples after two years of cohabitation has cast a light on how common-law couples are treated in other provinces. Common-law relationships typically refer to couples that live together in an arrangement akin to marriage, but without an actual ceremony or legal documents.It’s unlikely that a common-law couple that decides to split will deal with spousal support, but it is possible, depending upon other factors.Much like in marriage, spousal support is not automatic, but is given only when one party is seen as entitled to it.
"We use the law of constructed trust to protect people’s property rights, so if you’ve been living common law and you’ve been contributing to a home that the other party owns – either because you paid for renovations or because you were the one maintaining it – you can make a claim for property." Brownstone added that this is not in any way based on the same kind of principles as being married.