bypassing the formalities
Customs change. Nowadays, many couples decide to live together
without getting married.
Uncertainty as to one's choice of partner, disillusionment
stemming from a previous marriage and outright refusal to
make a commitment are but some of the reasons for the increasing
number of unmarried couples living together.
If you are among them, you may be wondering about the legal
aspects of your situation.
One thing you should know is that whether you and your partner
have lived together 3, 5 or even 20 years, you will not be
granted the same legal status as a married person.
I have heard that...
Despite what you may have heard, the following statements
False: The property bought by my common-law spouse will be
split half and half in the event of separation.
False: If we have a child together, we must adopt it.
False: Should my common-law spouse die, all assets automatically
revert to me.
These are but a few of the mistaken assumptions made by common-law
My home, your home or our home ?
Remember that the rights to protection of a family residence
and to the obligatory division of family assets are granted
only to legally married couples.
A common-law spouse who is the sole owner of a shared residence
may sell or mortgage (hypothecate) it without the consent
of the other partner.
Whenever a couple stops living together, the registered owner
of the home keeps it for himself and may even sell it alone
without splitting the proceeds of the sale with his former
If you plan to buy a home, why not do so under a co-ownership
agreement (i,e, with both your names as purchasers in the
deed ) ?
That way, over the years, both partners will benefit from
the increased value of the home purchased jointly.
Children: equal before the law
Children born of a common-law marriage have the same rights
and obligations as children from a legal marriage.
Therefore, there is no need for parents to adopt such children
if they have acknowledged them as their own in the children's
acts of birth.
The child may be given the surname of the mother or the father,
or a combination of the two.