In Alberta, there are few legal differences between a Common Law partnership and a more formalized type of marriage. Once you form a common law partnership you have equal rights to property accumulated after the common law relationship forms. If you have children together, you have equal parenting rights.
This means you will need a lawyer when your common law partnership dissolves. This will ensure you get your share of your property and will help you navigate the major issues of the dissolution, which include child support, spousal support, and parenting arrangements.
How Long do You have to Live Together to be Common-law Married in Alberta?
If you’ve lived together for three years, or live together and have a child, then you have formed an “adult interdependent partnership” under Alberta law. In general, this relationship must also be exclusive and the people within it must be acting as though they are a single economic and domestic unit.
Other provinces have different laws for when an adult interdependent partnership forms.
You must have lived together with “some degree of permanence,” which means no moving in and out of each other’s homes, and no living somewhere else. The “clock” would start three years after that permanent living arrangement began.
What is a Common Law Spouse Entitled to in Alberta?
A common law spouse is entitled to the same equitable division of property as a formally married spouse. This means property acquired after the relationship started will be divided as closely to 50/50 as is logistically possible.
Since most property isn’t fully liquid and can have variable value you’ll need to plan on negotiating a settlement just like any divorcing couple would. This may require creative legal solutions. It will absolutely require the help of a lawyer who knows family law inside and out.
Either spouse may also be eligible for spousal support or child support.
Can My Common law Partner Just Kick Me Out in Alberta?
No. You do not have to leave the common residence until your separation agreement is complete. In fact, in many cases, we advise our clients to stay put until the negotiation can be agreed upon.
That is because leaving the family home may essentially be seen as abdicating it, and it can be difficult to get back into the home later. Doing so may also impact future custody arrangements.
Do You Need a Separation Agreement for Common Law?
You absolutely need a separation agreement if you’re going to dissolve a common law relationship. This is the only way to get court enforcement of your rights. It’s also the only way to hold your ex accountable for their responsibilities, such as paying spousal support.
This formal agreement protects you and makes the new realities very clear to both parties.
Get Help Today
Call (587) 689-3333 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family lawyers. Our team will help you negotiate an enforceable, fair separation agreement that both parties can live with. We’re also a team of tough litigators, which means we can protect you if you end up having to go to court.