The Difference Between Common-Law and Marriage in Edmonton, Alberta

A common-law relationship can be defined in Alberta as a couple who have been sharing a residence in a committed relationship without having been legally married. There are different rights and obligations for common-law partners than for married partners.

You may be considered to be in a common-law relationship if you:

  • Are emotionally committed to one another
  • Function as a domestic and economic unit
  • Share one another’s lives

Common-law relationships are also governed by the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, whereas married couples are governed by The Matrimonial Property Act in the province of Alberta.

How to Know if You are in a Common-Law Relationship

For the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act to apply to you, you must be:

  • Living in an interdependent relationship of some permanence when there is a child
  • Entered into an adult interdependent partnership agreement
  • Living in an interdependent relationship for at least 3 years
  • Entered into an adult interdependent partnership agreement

What are my Rights in a
Common-Law Relationship in Alberta?

When a common-law relationship comes to an end in Alberta, each individual retains possession over the articles or property that were purchased or registered in their name during the time of the relationship. Equal division of property is not an expectation, but there may be exceptions regarding gifts exchanged, joint names, or any equity that was obtained by one individual and not the other.

An Edmonton Family Lawyer Can Help

The family law firm of Slaferek Callihoo have the knowledge and skills you can trust. The rules surrounding common-law relationships can be vague, call us today to find out how our Edmonton family lawyers can help you understand your rights as a common-law couple in Alberta. 1-780-800-7620.
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