I’m in a common law relationship. What are my rights in dividing our property?

In BC common law relationships are governed by the BC Family Law Act and generally applies if you lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years or less than two years but had a child together. Common law couples include individuals of any sexual orientation.

Common law spouses have the same rights as married spouses, except if you have not lived together for at least two years, and do not have a child together, you are not entitled to property rights.

Protecting your property interests at the commencement of a relationship can be achieved with an agreement under the Family Law Act, which is also known as a cohabitation agreement. This agreement should set out the details of all current assets and include business ventures, and also future acquisitions of real estate or other property of significant value. 

Upon separation, a separation agreement can be used to assist in settling common law disputes, such as dividing assets and potential claims that may arise in the future. If a couple agrees on the division of assets, how to manage debts and potential claims for spousal support, you can include these details in your separation agreement. Arrangements concerning parental responsibilities and/or parenting time, and child support, as per the BC Family Law Act, can also be included in the separation agreement.

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