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