Legal Definition of a Common Law Relationship in Alberta
In Alberta, common law couples are legally referred to as “Adult Interdependent Partners”. AIP relationships are defined as those who have economic and emotional interdependency and are governed by the Alberta Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.
An Adult Interdependent Partner is a person involved with another person in an unmarried relationships of interdependence where they:
- Share lives
- Are emotionally committed to each other
- Function as an economic and domestic unit
Adult interdependent partners must be
- Living in an independent relationship for a minimum of three years
- Living in an interdependent relationship of some permanence where this is a child by birth or adoption
- Living in or intend to live in an interdependent relationship and have entered into a written adult interdependent partner agreement.
Common Law Separations & Divorce
The term “divorce” applies only to those who were legally married, but the dissolution of a common law relationship is the same in many ways: assets must be divided, custody and child support must be determined, and the emotional and financial toll can run high.
While in the past, common law property division was not governed by statue in Alberta, effective January 1, 2020, the Family Property Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. F-4.8 came into effect which legislates rights to property division for common law partners, in the same manner as married couples under the predecessor legislation, the Matrimonial Property Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. M-8. This landmark legislation in our Province imports the same presumption of equal sharing of property between adult interdependent partners. It is strongly recommended that you work with a family law lawyer for common law separation to protect yourself and your children when undergoing this process.