The Laws Around Common Law Spouses
Family law in British Columbia is currently governed primarily by two pieces of legislation; the Divorce Act (Canada), which is federal legislation, and the Family Law Act, which is provincial legislation.

Unmarried couples do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Divorce Act, and so must seek their relief under the Family Law Act. The Family Law Act defines spouses to include a couple who have lived in a “marriage-like relationship for a period of at least 2 years.”

Recent Legislation for Common Law Spouses

British Columbia has recently changed the rules with respect to property with the new Family Law Act. The new Family Law Act equalizes the property regime between common law and married couples.

The definition of common law may be different under other legislation or regulations. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency defines a common law couple as two people who reside together in a conjugal relationship for 12 continuous months or reside together for any period of time and share a child. The Canada Pension Plan defines common law partners as two people who have resided together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, as does the British Columbia Public Service Agency Employee Benefits program.

Contact Paine Edmonds LLP in Vancouver

If you find that you need the services of a family law lawyer concerning common law spouses, call Paine Edmonds LLP in Vancouver. Our family law lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable of legislation about common law spouses. Book a free consultation to discuss your options.