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In British Columbia, 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.
Our lawyers can help you understand your rights and obligations in common law relationships, and what to do when you want to dissolve one in B.C. 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 B.C., 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.