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Common Law FAQs

Who We Are
Welcome to CommonLawRelatonships.ca, the leading internet resource about the legal rights and obligations of Canadians living in common law relationships. If you are living with someone in a straight or same sex relationship, you many not be clear about what this means in legal terms. Many legal issues can arise, for instance, issues involving children, separation, estates, or benefits. This website is for you – to help you navigate this complex maze.

Provincial or Federal?
As you probably know, both the Federal government and the provincial governments in Canada have jurisdiction over different areas. Sometimes these areas overlap. To keep you on your toes, each province and the feds do things differently. So you’ll want to check who has jurisdiction over what you want to know about. Sounds complicated? It can be! But don’t worry, we’ll help guide you through this. The important thing is to check the information relating to your province and to Canada as a whole. See the list of provinces on top? Just make sure to check out the information for your province once you’ve gone through the basics on this page, as well as the information on the federal (Canada) page.

What is a common law relationship?
This is the threshhold question. The simple answer is that if you consider yourself living in a marriage-like relationship, and you have lived together for the length of time required by law, then you are in a common law relationhsip, whether you are in a straight or same sex relationship.

How long do we have to live together to be considered common law?
I know you want a short answer to this – but there isn’t one. The amount of time required varies tremendously and can be anywhere from 1 to 3 years depending on where you live, what area of law is applicable, and whether you have children. Don’t worry – we tell you exactly how long you must live together at each step of the way.

We’ve lived together a really long time – are we married?
No. There is no such thing as common law marriage in Canada. No matter how long you live together, the law will not consider you married, and the common law information on this website will apply.

How do I get started?
Above we have a list of legal jurisdications – you’ll want to check for the specifics of the law in your province, and possibly Federal law at the Canada link. Or, contact us if you require legal help.