Alberta law does recognize common law marriages. When a common law partnership dissolves you and your ex will have to resolve all of the same major issues of property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support that a more formally married couple would need.
The family lawyers at Merchant Law are prepared to help. We can ensure that these issues are handled in a fair and legally defensible manner.
How long do you have to be together to be common law married in Alberta?
In Alberta there is no minimum amount of time for a cohabiting common law couple to gain a claim to one another’s property. Thus, cohabiting in Alberta is a more serious decision than in some other provinces which do observe time minimums. Ideally, you would have a cohabitation agreement before you moved in together, but many couples do not.
You may be considered an Adult Interdependent Partner if you’ve lived together for 3 years, or for less if you have a child together, or if you’ve entered into an adult interdependent partner agreement. This can grant you certain inheritance rights on your partner’s property if the partner dies, but will not impact the major issues that confront a cohabiting couple upon the dissolution of a relationship.
How does division of property work in a common law separation in Alberta?
Any property that is obtained after you and your common law spouse begin living together is considered divisible. The courts strive to make this division equal. A true 50/50 split may not be possible when assets are not liquid, so compromise is called for.
Most of these cases settle out of court after a period of negotiation. This is the least expensive way to do it, and the one that leaves you the most control of the process.
How do you formalize a common law separation?
You will need a formal separation agreement that states that the relationship is over, there’s no possibility of reconciliation, and that you intend to live separate and apart. This agreement will then outline the division of property, as well as parenting time agreements, spousal support agreements, child support, and more.
You will want an lawyer to help you draft this document, as it can have serious implications for your life moving forward.
You can also end the relationship by living separate or apart for one year, or by formally marrying someone else. However, you will still want a formal separation agreement to tackle all the major issues of your separation, including property division.
Why Merchant Law?
When you work with Merchant Law you get access to experienced family lawyers who care about helping you get results. We’re responsive, and we’ve got decades of successful cases under our belts.
Are we the right lawyers for you? Find out by calling us to set up a free consultation today. We’ll answer your questions, discuss your goals for your common law separation, and help you understand what your next steps should be.