Common Law Separation: How Does It Legally Work in Canada?
Common law separation is a term that describes ending a domestic relationship between two individuals who have lived together for some time but were not legally married. This type of separation is becoming increasingly common in Canada as more and more couples choose to live together without getting married.
In Canada, common law relationships are not legally recognized in the same way that marriages are. This means that couples who live together but are not married do not have the same legal rights and protections that married couples do. As a result, separating can be more complicated for common-law couples.
Continue reading to know more about common law separation and where to find family lawyers.
Common Law Separation: Things to Know
One of the most important things to understand about common law separation is that there is no automatic right to property division. In other words, just because two people have lived together for a certain amount of time does not mean they are entitled to an equal share of all property and assets acquired during their relationship.
Instead, common law couples must rely on common law principles to determine how their property will be divided. This means that the courts will look at several different factors, including the length of the relationship, the contributions each person made to the relationship, and the overall financial situation of each person.
Factors to Consider in Property Division
1. Unjust Enrichment
One of the key factors that the courts will consider when dividing property in a common law separation is the concept of unjust enrichment. This refers to a situation where one person has benefited unfairly from the other person's contributions during the relationship. For example, if one person worked full-time while the other stayed home to care for the household and children, the person who stayed home may be entitled to a larger share of the property.
2. Concept of Trust
Another important factor that the courts will consider when dividing property in a common law separation is the concept of trust. This refers to a situation where one person holds property or assets in trust for the other person during the relationship. For example, if one person used their own money to purchase a home but both lived in it and contributed to its upkeep, the other person may be entitled to a share of the home's value.
3. Additional Considerations
It is important to note that common-law couples in Canada do not have the same rights to spousal support as married couples do. However, if one person in a common-law relationship is financially dependent on the other person, they may be entitled to receive support payments after the relationship ends.
The amount of support awarded will depend on many factors, including the length of the relationship, the financial situation of each person, and the contributions each person made to the relationship.
In addition to property division and spousal support, common law couples must also consider issues related to child custody and child support if they have children together. In Canada, the law treats children of common-law couples in the same way as children of married couples.
This means that both parents have legal obligations to provide for their children and that custody and access arrangements must be made in the children's best interests. If you have questions or concerns, it may be best to consult a child custody lawyer.
Common law separation can be complex and difficult, particularly regarding property division. However, with the help of a qualified law firm, common-law couples can work through these issues and come to an agreement that is fair and equitable for both parties. It is important for anyone going through a common law separation to seek legal advice as early as possible to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.
Need assistance from a Medicine Hat law firm? Give Hamilton Cahoon Law a call. Your legal concerns, including family law, civil litigation, personal injury, real estate, and other legal matters, are within our scope of assistance. Visit our law office to discuss with legal specialists!