Common law is not the same as married
Posted in the Georgetown Forum
North Bay, Canada
#1 Dec 28, 2012
Little-known credit card facts
Start an F.U. account So Im sitting in a meeting one day with a bunch of women who are trying to convince me that in Canada common-law is the same as married.
Me: Its not.
Them: Yes it is. The government changed the rules.
Me: Really, like the rule around the matrimonial home?
Them: Yes! Exactly!
Me: Not so much ladies. You might want to rethink your plan.
Lest you are under the impression that living together is the same as married, here I come with my very long, very sharp pin to burst your bubble. While there have been changes made to the laws, its still not the same as being married.
The first thing you need to know is that family law is a provincial affair. So, for example, if you live in BC you can claim spousal support if youve lived together for at least two years or have a kid together. In Ontario, youll have to have cohabited for three years.
Second, dont assume that as soon as you move into the house together its 50-50.
Common law mates dont have the same financial and property rights as those who have tied the knot. That makes it easy if you want to split up and go your separate ways without untangling the knot. But you better keep good records of what you brought into the relationship, and who paid for what, so you can take whats yours when youre heading your own separate ways.
You can create a cohabitation agreement that outlines what will happen if your move-in turns into a move-out. The document you both sign should make clear who stays and who leaves along with how often youll get to see the cat.
For sure, you must keep your own financial identity. That means having your own savings, credit (so youre building a history, not going into debt) and financial goals. And dont sign for the others debt, ever. This is true whether youre married, cohabiting or just friends with benefits.
Dont assume the law will protect you. Thats like assuming a bank wouldnt lend you more money than you could afford to repay and weve seen where thats gotten us. Its your job to protect yourself.
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