Common Law Relationships & Divorce

In BC, individuals in common-law marriages are not considered to be formally married. However, the rights afforded to common-law partners during a separation are generally the same as those afforded to individuals who have been married in a formal ceremony or through a civil procedure.

This is particularly true in instances of common law relationships that involve children. The law attempts to approach these issues from the viewpoint of the child whenever a decision is being made that will impact that child’s life and security. To a child, there is little difference between a common-law marriage and one that has been sanctioned by the courts or a religious institution. The result of this interpretation of the law is that child support and child custody obligations in a common-law marriage are identical to a regular marriage.

Learn more about common law rules in BC:

Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and obligations in common law relationships, and what to do to process a common law divorce in BC. Contact our lawyers for a consultation right here.

Am I in a Common-law Relationship?

Whether or not a live-in relationship can be considered a common-law marriage generally depends on the amount of time that the couple has been living together.  In BC, a common-law relationship requires only two years of cohabitation in a marriage like relationship.

Same-Sex Common-law Relationships

It’s important to note that in Canada, a common law marriage can occur in a same-sex relationship as well as a heterosexual relationship and that there is no legal distinction between the two.

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