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Legal Services for Common Law Couples

In 2013, the B.C. Family Law Act made significant changes for common law couples. Unmarried couples, both of the same sex or opposite sex, are defined as spouses if they have continuously lived together in a marriage-like relationship for a period of two or more years.

The Act specifies that common law spouses have the same rights and obligations as legally married couples. An exception is where the couple has foreseen the possibility that the relationship could end, and have entered into a Co-habitation Agreement. In this case, their respective property, and other assets, may be excluded from the normal rules for matrimonial property division.

If this Act affects your relationship, Nanaimo Divorce can help you determine your rights and options for your particular situation.

If you are a common law spouse, you can claim Spousal Support when the relationship ends, provided that all facts meet the requirements. What constitutes a recognized common law relationship? The test is whether you have acted as a normal married couple.

  • Did you have exclusive sexual arrangements?
  • Were living expenses shared or did one spouse support the other?
  • Did you own assets jointly?
  • Did you represent yourselves as a husband or wife, live together, and go on holidays together?
  • Can it be established that your relationship as a common law couple lasted two years or more?

It is also important to note, that if you want to apply for Common Law Spousal Support, it must be filed within one year of your relationship ending, or is barred from any claim. Once a claim is established, the support terms are equal to that of any married spouse, and are ascertained on a similar basis as those with a formal Certificate of Marriage.

Every divorce or separation is emotional and stressful. Nanaimo Divorce wants to help minimize your costs, and give you peace of mind that you are being looked after. We will guide you through all the legal processes and documentation, to ensure you fair rights are being met.

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