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Common Law

According to the recent census, more  and more couples are choosing to live common law instead of getting married, and Zoomers are the ones opting for these mid-life arrangements at a much faster rate than most other demographic groups. However, family law experts say the older the couple, the more likely they are to run into problems, given children from previous marriages, and separations or divorces that may not be finalized.

Although federal programs, such as the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, accommodate common-law partnerships, each province has a different set of rules governing what rights common law spouses have when the relationship breaks down. And they simply don’t have the same financial rights as legally married spouses. For example, you won’t have rights to the family home or equal distribution of family assets unless the property is owned jointly.

When common-law partners separate though, the person whose name is on the deed, or who paid for the goods is most likely the one entitled to it. To avoid problems, it’s important for common-law partners to consider owning assets jointly, to maintain accurate records, keep receipts for purchases, or to have a cohabitation agreement.

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