Common Law Canada
Each federal statute has its own rules, but generally under federal law, you are considered common law once you have lived together for one year.

Divorce Act
The Divorce Act is the legislation that governs what happens regarding child custody, child support, and spousal support when a married relationship ends. The Canadian Divorce Act fairly obviously only applies to married couples. Every province has their own family law legislation dealing with these issues. In some provinces common law couples are treated similarly to married couples with regards to property rights and spousal support, and in other provinces they are treated quite differently. On the top navigation bar, click on your province to find out more about your legal rights. Child support and child custody are treated the same way for married and unmarried couples in all provinces and territories, as these are focussed on issues relating to the children and not legal status of the parents’ relationship.

Canada Pension Plan
CPP considers you a common law couple if you live together for at least one year. Pension credits can be divided if you have been living together for at least 12 months and have been separated for at least 12 months.

As well, common law partners are eligible for payments of CPP survivor benefits when their partner passes away.

Old Age Security
You are considered a common law partner for Old Age Security purposes if you have been living together for one year or longer. Common law partners are eligible for OAS survivor’s allowance.

Income Tax Act
The Income Tax Act considers you common law if you have lived together for one year or more in a conjugal relationship or a shorter period of time while raising a child together. If you are common law, you must (it is not optional) file as common law and can claim the same tax credits as if you were married.


  1. Barry-Reply
    April 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    In quebec, my girlfreind is still legally married to her husband, can she be considered legally married to him and in a common law relationship with me at the same time?

    Thank you

  2. Tim-Reply
    May 9, 2013 at 4:54 am

    It would be useful to know if being common law can have an effect on immigration status if one partner is a Canadian citizen and the other partner is a legal, but not permanent, resident of Canada.

    • angelo bonalos-Reply
      February 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      Its to know different forms of marriage and relationships

  3. Holly-Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm


    My boyfriend and I are expecting our first child this fall and we have been together for years. We will need to begin filing our taxes as common law and are not sure how to go about doing so. I have heard that Revenue Canada will require us to have an affidavit of our common law status. Is this true? If so, what exactly is needed? Would it have to be drawn up by a lawyer or would you go to your city for documentation?



    Holly Deline

  4. Ahmad Matin-Reply
    August 12, 2013 at 1:00 am

    I have a claim against Canadatrust but the date of the claim is October 2009 can I still file the claim via a lower thank you.

  5. tina-Reply
    August 25, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    to whom it may concern..
    I’ve been trying to figure out if this rumor is true and it is this.. I have one daughter, My boyfriend has one daughter. If we were to move in together and say a year from now we separated, would he have to pay me spousal and or child support even tho my daughter isn’t his? I’ve been told that a partner would have to pay child support to the mother/parent after separation from common law even if the child isn’t his.. Can you tell me how that works? My boyfriend would like to move in together but if our relationship went sour and we ended it in a year or so, then he would have to pay child support to my daughter, and so is preventing him to move forward in taking that step with me.
    I would appreciate an answer to this when you get a chance as it’s bothering me.

    Kingston ontario

  6. Lynzie-Reply
    September 29, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Ever since my boy friend and I have been living together we put everything as common law. All our paperwork we get from the government says we are in a common law. Does it actually mean we are?

    • September 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      My boyfriend and i live together since I get pregnant last 2009 since then all document in government says we are common law .does it mean we are? What is the different between legally marriage to common law is it same when it comes the property… Last 2012 we bought our own house now our relationship is on the rock and were planning to sell the house.. I have 2 child..we are joint account but he has other account I wanna know as common law just in case we divided our assets is it include his other acct I would appreciate an answer or email me thanks

  7. Patrick-Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Not many really know what the so-called “common law” is. Common law is not what people think it is. Common law is pagan law, private law, law which does not necessarily apply to anyone. Canada is part of the Common We All Th (commonwealth) of Nations with Elizabeth Judah Windsor as head of State. Lizzy is the monarch. Monarch is rooted in 2 words; mono-one; arch-ruler. With lineage traceable to King David the God of Lizzy would be the God of Jacob. Therefore, the Laws Lizzy is responsible to are found in the Pentateuch. In North America we have two sets of law. One is the law of the Cana’anites, sometimes referred to as; “canon law” while the other is the Five Scrolls of Moses. February 6th., 1952 Lizzy was annointed Chief of the Tribe of Judah (1Kings). On June 2, 1953 the corporation; HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND was invented. At this time, Lizzy entered into a lifetime pension/holiday (2Kings25 v 21-28) when it donated its Signet ring to papal agent; Lord Privy Seal. In exchange, Lizzy subscribed to the “Civil List” thereby obtaining an eternal pension in exchange for the right to rule. If you check Lizzy’s websight you will note she says; “i do not give you law …” this is true as it is a command to Lizzy per Deut. 4:2. The liarslawyers ARE papal agents, bent on the destruction of the planet for “money”. Funny, under the so-called “Canadian” statutes there is no money for it was removed, by statute, in 1985! And, then the Indians come into play!

  8. February 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

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  9. Michelle-Reply
    March 10, 2014 at 2:14 am

    To whom this may concern.

    me and my boyfriend have been living with my mother and two brothers for almost a year now and she is trying to claim common law on us i am honestly not too sure how that works. She is asking for mine and his social insurance number and he’s not to sure if he wants to give that out because he’s never had to before…. help please.

  10. Miya-Reply
    April 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    My common law partner and I have a 3 year old child, and have been living together for 5 years. The relationship is not working and I am thinking about leaving him. I have been working for his company doing books etc, and a stay at home mom and homemaker. I know that I will be able to get spousal support and child support, but my partner just sold a piece of land he inherited years ago for a substantial amount of money. I am worried that he is going to waste it away as he has with his past inheritances. he has just quit his job and discussing career changes, and generally lazy. I am wondering if I have any right to any of this money to put aside for our son or a home if I leave him?

  11. Regina-Reply
    June 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Hi, I was with a man for over 20 years and we considered ourselves to be spouses but because we maintained separate residences we thought that we were not legally common-in-law. His house was mainly used for his business and storage and my house was where we lived. “he stayed at his house 2-3 nights per week but the rest of the time he was at my house which we considered our home. He acted as a parent to my children and our families and the community considered us to be husband and wife. After his death last summer, I discovered that our relationship was considered legally common law because we met all the criteria for a conjugal relationship. My question is this: what do I do about Income Tax? We filed as single because that was what we thought we were. Now I do not know what to put on my tax return. Should I put widowed and should I contact revenue Canada so that our taxes for previous years are reassessed? I want to apply for survivor benefits but am not sure if I need to deal with revenue Canada first? To make matters more complicated his sister is contesting our status and is estate executor. Any suggestions you can offer would be welcome.

  12. August 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Is it possible to apply secretly due to religious and culture conditions? I respect my family but I really want to pursue the application for common law so that my partner and I will be together. Please advice. Thanks

  13. frankie webster-Reply
    August 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    My boyfriend and I have lived together for 2 years and we live in Saskatchewan, are we considered common law even though he is still legally married to another person?

  14. Jocelyn-Reply
    September 27, 2018 at 3:56 am

    My boyfriend will be moving here on a work visa and will be moving in with me. Will he be considered my common law partner or would he have to be a citizen?

  15. Julie Denise-Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    When there is a death in a common law relationship, when there is no Last Will and Testament what right does the common law spouse has when it comes time to make the funeral arrangement. Does the surviving common law spouse have any rank over other family members, ie; parents, siblings and surviving children over the age of 16.

    With thanks


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