Common Law Manitoba
Manitoba has enacted legislation governing common law couples, known as the Common-Law Partners’ Property Act. Under this act, you are considered common law Manitoba after:

1. living in a conjugal relationship for three years; or
2. registering your common law relationship at the Vital Statistics Registry.

To end a common law relationship, you must either register a dissolution under the Vital Statistics Registry, which can be done one year after separation, or it is considered over after three years of separation.

Property Rights
Common law couples and married couples in Manitoba have the same rights to property division at the end of their relationship under the Family Property Act.

What if you are living common law, but haven’t lived together for three years or registered your relationship at the Vital Statistics Registry? In that case, you may still have a claim for the division or property using principles of unjust enrichment – basically claiming that your partner was enriched at your expense. An example of this sort of claim is where you’ve paid for half the house, but the house is in your partner’s name.

Spousal Support
Entitlement and quantum of spousal support is calculated the same way for unmarried and married couples in Manitoba.

Child Support and Child Custody
Child support and child custody is determined from the child’s point of view, so whether the parents are married or not is irrelevant.

In Manitoba, married and common law couples have the same rights when it comes to estate issues. The Wills Act uses the same definition for common law as the Family Property Act, plus additionally you are considered common law for estates purposes if you have been living in a conjugal relationship for one year and having a child together.

Cohabitation Agreement
If you want to opt out of the legal regime that applies, you and your partner need to enter into a cohabitation agreement that sets out both of your rights and obligations.

From a legal perspective, it does not matter whether you are married or not in Manitoba when determining your rights and obligations upon separation or death.


  1. Lawrence-Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    Hello, my name is Lawrence and I have a few questions about child support for a project that I am doing.

    1. What is child support?

    2. What if the child does not want child support from the other parent?

    3. How do you calculate child support?

    4. How can a child obtain child support if he lives in Canada, but the other parent lives in another country?

    5. What if the child does not want child support from the other parent?

    6. Which is more common joint custody or sole custody?

    7. Why do the Federal Child Support Guidelines have a separate table for each province and territory?

    8. What factors do judges consider when deciding on parenting arrangements in a child’s best interests?

    9. What are the differences between legal custody and physical custody?

    10. Can the child decide on what parent he can live with? If not explain why.

    11. How is child custody decided?

    Thank you for your time!

  2. Chic Thomas-Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Two questions:
    1) if your common law and don’t want any part of the property (i.e. house you live in with partner) what do you have to sign?
    2) If you have been “conjugal” but haven’t for the past 5 years is it still common law?

  3. June 2, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Can common law partner (been together more than 3 years) receive spousal support from common law partner, if she still legally married to another and not claiming from him. Can she receive child support from common law partner regarding biological children from previous marriage and not claiming from him.

  4. Diane-Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    If a common law relationship ended almost 3 years ago and at that time, the person staying in the home started paying the ex $300/month towards the purchase of the home on a verbal agreement initiated by the ex, and the ex no longer agrees to the initial value of the home, what are the laws concerning this? There is nothing in writing on the original agreement.

    Is the value of the home established – at time of separation? when payments were made? or now going in to 3 years later at current value which is considerably more?

  5. Chris-Reply
    March 4, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    If someone has been in a common law relationship for 25 years and the family home was aquired before the relationship by one of the spouses, what is the other spouse entitled to in the event of a split? Is it half the value of the home when the relationship ends, or half the value of the increase in value since the time of start of being common law? Thanks.

  6. Emily-Reply
    October 22, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Heres a situation.

    I was living with my boyfriend and we were common law. We purchased a house together with both of our names on the mortgage. He began starting Reno’s, starting in one room and then moving to another without finishing the jobs. I paid for all of these Reno’s with my life savings, as well as the down payment on the house. After 5 and half years and a now torn apart house our relationship ended violently, where a protection order had to be put in place. He is now trying to say that he is entitled to half of the equity that has built up over the last two years because he has refused to remove his name from the mortgage, saying that he wants half the equity. Should he be entitled to half of the equity built up over the two years of lawyer action, or just what the property was valued at when we separated?

  7. Sandy Vosper-Reply
    March 3, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    If someone had a relationship where they shared a bed for at least 4 nights a week sometime at one and sometime at another and then moving in together and sharing the mortgage payments plus half of everything, how long would they have been in a common law marriage.

  8. michelle-Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Do I need to have a will drawn up by a lawyer if I am in a common law relationship or can I manage that with a Legal will kit?

  9. mishelle-Reply
    September 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    If a person is separated and not divorced …but living with someone else – can that new relationship legally be considered commin law?

  10. Rose-Reply
    March 20, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    If I have been living with someone for 5 years but he is still married and hasn’t applied for a divorce would we still be considered common law

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