Assisting Clients With Legal Issues Arising Out Of Common Law Relationships

In British Columbia, there is little distinction between legally married couples and those couples who are unmarried and in a common law relationship. The province updated its family law legislation in 2013 to give common law couples the same rights as married couples when it comes to property, spousal support and rights of inheritance.

Westside Family Law has specialized in the practice of family law for decades. We have helped many common law couples with family law agreements as well as issues of separation. We can also help you settle issues of inheritance. Whatever your legal need, we will work diligently to find the right resolution for you and your family.

Understanding Common Law Relationships

The court will look at certain factors to determine whether a couple is in a common law relationship. These factors include whether a couple:

  • Has children
  • Share responsibilities for finances
  • Have an intimate relationship
  • Present themselves as a couple
  • Reside together
  • The Family Law Act defines a common law relationship as a "marriage-like" relationship. Generally, that means that the individuals have lived together for at least two years or the couple has lived together for less than two years but has a child with the other person. Albeit this may not entitle them to property division or give them a pension entitlement.

If a common law couple decides to separate, they are not required to go through the legal process of divorce to end the marriage-like relationship. Instead, they will often work out their issues through an agreement. The agreement will settle issues such as custody, property division and spousal support.

Protecting Yourself And Your Children In Case Of Separation

When deciding to separate from a partner it is advisable to consult with an experienced lawyer. Each case is unique and it is important to consider your legal rights and obligations. Westside Family Law can provide you with sound advice. Our lawyers can help you understand the legal processes and provide clarity around your options. We will also guide you to a solution that is tailored to you and your family's needs.

We are also available to assist you if your spouse is deceased and the terms of the will are less than favourable to you.

We Can Give You Clarity

If you require assistance negotiating your separation agreement or require guidance on separation, we can help. Schedule an appointment by email or call us in Vancouver at 604-800-8853.