Common Law Divorce

Common law relationships have many similar rights as marriages, but there are some key differences. If your common law relationship is treading into legal waters, you’ll appreciate the guidance of a family law lawyer.

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.

When a common law couple separates, it is assumed that each person will keep the property that they bought during the relationship – there is no presumption of equal division of property between adult interdependent partners. During separation, common law couples can apply to the court for the exclusive possession of household goods and the primary home. 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.

I’m enjoying my new home, and am thankful that we moved quickly on this divorce. I think back to when he was asking for more lines of credit a year ago and you said to serve him. I fear I may have had nothing left if this had gone on for a longer time. Thank you, Diana, for your help and guidance on this messy situation. ...Read More

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