Common Law Newfoundland
After two years of living in a marriage-like relationship, you are considered common law in Newfoundland for spousal support purposes.

Property Rights
The property division provisions of the Newfoundland Family Law Act only apply to married couples. This means that there is no automatic right to the division of property upon separation. Each common law partner keeps what they bought and shared assets are divided equally. A common law partner also has the right to make a claim for unjust enrichment, but this right is expensive, complicated and the results can be uncertain.

Matrimonial Home
The Family Law Act of Newfoundland treats the matrimonial home differently than other property. Under this legislation, both parties must divide the home equally regardless of who bought it, when it was bought, or whose name is on title. As well, if one spouse should die, then the other automatically inherits the entire home, regardless of what is in a will. When parties separate, then they both have the right to stay in the home.

However, none of these rights regarding the matrimonial home applies to common law couples in Newfoundland.

Spousal Support
Common law partners can apply for spousal support.

Child Support & Child Custody
Child support and child custody rights and obligations are the same for married and unmarried couples in all provinces and territories of Canada, including Newfoundland.

Common law partners have no specific rights under Newfoundland’s Intestate Succession Act. So, if your common law partner dies without a will, then you would be left with no inheritance.

Cohabitation Agreement
Cohabitation agreements are permitted for common law partners under the Newfoundland Family Law Act and can be used to change your legal rights and obligations to something that is more suitable to you and your partner.

Common law and married couples are treated very differently under Newfoundland law.


  1. Jeanette-Reply
    March 1, 2013 at 12:34 am

    In Newfoundland, if a partner comes into a common law relationship with inheritance, would the other partner be entitled to any of that inheritance should they break up?

    • james corbett-Reply
      July 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      waiting for the answer

  2. Maureen Ryan-Reply
    March 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    My common law partner left me after 3 years of living together. We had been living in his residence, and then he decided to leave and moved to Edmonton with a girlfriend. I ended up in the hospital for 10 days and I was going to go back to the property to stay for a few days…. I have an apartment rented, beginning April 1/13… but in the meantime, I have no place to stay. My partner told me I cannot go back to the home we shared, as it is in his name, and I could not go back there. All my personal effects, and most of the furniture and appliances are mine………….. What should I do??? I am at the mercy of friends until the end of the month, and I need to get my belongings.

  3. Gail Vey-Reply
    July 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Is there any law either in Newfoundland or Canada that provides a partner of a common law relationship financial compensation for enduring years of emotional, financial and mental abuse?

  4. avb4185-Reply
    October 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Me and my common law live in a house that is owned by his mother and we pay land taxes but no rent. He thinks the house is soley his and threatens that on our impending seperation that it is not my house and it is his and I have no say. Do I have a right to this house? We have been living at this place for over 2.5years together but our mailing addresses are still seperate and not at this residence.

  5. John-Reply
    March 10, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I have been in a common law relationship for 9.5 years and have recently uncovered not 1 but 3 different affairs and one for sure that occurred in the residence. I financed the property and pay all associated bills, mortgage, taxes, utilities, major purchase, repairs you name it. She bought furniture into the relationship but there has been a lot acquired since. Currently 95% is packed up to go and I am not going after her finances but she wants a pay out. Am I required to make a payout and what is the status on the property for Newfoundland? What happens if you change the locks?

  6. nb86-Reply
    April 25, 2014 at 2:00 am

    I was in a relationship for 8 years. We bought a house and the relationship never lasted 2 years after that date. Before that we didnt live together. Im currently living in the house alone now because my ex couldnt afford to pay for it alone. I want to keep the house but they dont seem to want me to have it or they want money or something. Not quite sure what they are after. So its going to have to be settled by a lawyer. Just woundering what the outcome of this will be. And how much it will cost?

  7. Razon-Reply
    July 3, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    So if I file common law with my partner and we split up, could she ask for spousal support and for how long would I potentially have to pay it? We have lived together for 3 years. Also, she has a child with another person. Would I be held liable for child support for the child?

  8. Brad-Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    I recently separated with my common law partner. During the time we spent together she took out a loan as a gift for me to go back to school so I would not have to work away anymore. Now that we are separated she is asking for that to be paid back even though it was a gift. And I obligated to pay this back.? If she decided to take it to court would she win???

  9. March 18, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    i’ve been in relationship for 5yrs but only been living together for 9months after that we’ve been on our separate ways. we still seeing each other occasionally until something happen between the two of us that cause her to get pregnant. During that time she talk to me to be on her side until she deliver the baby and then i can go on with my life. We’re never had a chance to be together because i’m working almost 3hrs drive away from her place. Until she give birth to my daughter then I decided to have her so that someone would look after them while she was gaining her strength. That only last for 5months. My question is this, Did she have any rights to drag me in a court for child support eventhough I’m giving her child support? By the way I am married and the girl know about my status?

  10. Larry baggs-Reply
    December 5, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    How can I make sure my common law wife get sthe property or value if I die?

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