How does separation work for common law couples in Alberta?
There has traditionally been a very distinct contrast between how the law treated unmarried couples in Alberta versus unmarried couples elsewhere in Canada and there was traditionally no statute law governing the division of property for unmarried couples here in Alberta. Generally speaking, in Alberta you will not be entitled to all the same rights as married couples are.
That being said, jointly held assets should be divided equally. The legal presumption is that property purchased during the relationship will belong to the person who can prove ownership. Speak to a Calgary common law separation lawyer about the facts as it can sometimes amount to unjust enrichment for the property not to be shared on a fair basis.
The Alberta courts may be receptive to these arguments in cases where they can see a clear injustice. The argument of unjust enrichment is possible where one spouse ended up owning most or all of the couple’s property acquired during the relationship.
A marriage is protected by specific statute and the Alberta courts will view married couples as one economic unit sharing in all property irrespective of who officially owned it, especially the “matrimonial” home where the couple ordinarily lived.
Not too long ago the law as it was applied in Alberta very often meant that for unmarried couples even if you lived in the same home for 15 years or 30 years it would not matter, you would have no rights unless you were on the title to the property.
However now and on an increasing basis in Alberta a common law relationship under Alberta laws and the treatment of cases by judges is approaching more closely that of a traditional marriage than the other extreme which had been no rights conferred at all.
So it could be said that the pendulum has perhaps swung in some respects a little bit the other way now in Alberta. But old habits and mind sets die hard, and it can sometimes depend on the judge hearing the case and certainly your lawyer’s ability to advocate on your behalf.
Call us so that we can get to work on your behalf to determine what will be fair and reasonable compensation based on all that you gave to the common law existence together. Our skilled and experienced Calgary common law separation lawyers will do their utmost to ensure you get treated fairly under Alberta law.
Calgary Common Law Separation Lawyers
Our Calgary divorce and common law separation lawyers can assist with:
- Adult Interdependent Relationship Agreements
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Agreements to end Adult Interdependent Relationships
- Family mediation
Children are often the focus of common law relationships and their breakdown, and we can help with:
- Parenting time
- Grandparent contact and care
- Child support
- Section 7 extraordinary child support
When common law relationships breakdown, one partner may owe the other partner support. We can help with:
- Partner support
- Partner support arrears
Common law relationships have different laws for dividing property than those governing matrimonial property. We can assist with:
- Property division
- Unjust enrichment
- Preservation of property
- Partition and sale of home
We provide legal representation in Calgary and the surrounding areas, including Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere, Strathmore, High River.
Merchant Law has offices across the province of Alberta in Calgary, Airdrie, Red Deer, and Edmonton. Many of our lawyers practise exclusively in the area of family law. Our Calgary office proudly services these nearby localities: Airdrie, Okotoks, Chestermere, Strathmore, and High River.
Our Calgary common law lawyers pride themselves on promptly returning all calls, e-mails, and text messages, and providing honest and zealous representation. Our focus is to help you find closure on legal matters after a separation or divorce. We will work together to evaluate all your needs and factor them into a fair and appropriate divorce or legal separation that protects your interests.
Get in Touch
Visit us at the Merchant Law Building located at 2710 17th Ave SE in Calgary. Take the elevator to the 4th floor.
You will find free customer parking at the building. If you don’t find a spot there then free street parking is also available.
We recommend that you make an appointment in advance as we would not wish to keep you waiting such as if all lawyers are gone to court or in other meetings.
Call us to book an appointment at 403-225-7777. We answer the calls seven days a week 24 hours a day.
Or fill out the email contact form on this webpage and we will answer you within 24 hours (or one working day).
We look forward to speaking to you.