New Brunswick

Common Law New Brunswick
To be considered common law for spousal support purposes in NB, you and your partner must have lived together for three or more years.

Property Rights
The rules for property division for married couples under the Marital Property Act do not apply to common law couples in New Brunswick. So, basically each party keeps what they brought into the relationship or bought. If you are not happy with that arrangement, you can bring a claim for unjust enrichment, claiming your partner got enriched at your expense. However, these claims are expensive and uncertain. They never bring about an equal division of property.

Spousal Support
Under the Family Services Act, spousal support may be payable when a common law couple has lived together for three or more years. The amount of, and entitlement to, spousal support is the same for both married and common law couples.

Child Support & Child Custody
Child support and child custody laws are the same in New Brunswick, regardless of whether the couple is married or not.

Unmarried couples have few rights under the estate legislation in New Brunswick. Under the Devolution of Estates Act, a common law partner has not rights to the property of the deceased partner should the person pass away without a will. You may be able to obtain dependants relief under the Provision for Dependants Act, if you can show you were financially dependant on your deceased partner.

Cohabitation Agreement
If you find the results of law unfair, then you can enter into a cohabitation agreements that reflects your and your partners’ wishes and turns them into legal reality.

In New Brunswick, there are significant differences between the legal rights and obligations of common law partners and married partners, especially with property rights upon separation or death.