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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 98990
Experience:  I am a practicing lawyer and have also been an online professional for 5 years.
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My boyfriend I and have been living together consecutive

Customer Question

My boyfriend I and have been living together for 12 consecutive months which should meet the requirement of common law partner. We lived in the condo that under my name and have joint chequing account. I want to know is that if the martial status of both of us has to be common law partner? Is that possible to claim us as singles? Since we don't want to share any property and debt until we get married, does the common law relationship is recognized automatically once it satisfied with requirements?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Family Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

What province do you live in please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

In Ontario for family law purposes you are not to common law spouses unless you either have lived together for three years or unless you have a child together.

In Ontario, common law spouses never have property rights so regardless of how long you live together you will never share in the value of your assets because of your common law relationship. However, if either of you contributes to the value of an asset in the other spouse's name that contributor would possibly have a claim to share in the value of the asset and that has nothing to do with your common law status but it is the law for everyone so it may be that even now one of you could make a claim to the value of an asset in the other' s name.

The most prudent approach for you to take is for you to have a cohabitation agreement.

While you did not mention support you should know that common law spouses do you have spousal support rights and obligations just the way legally married spouses do so in three years or if you have a child together a spousal support claim could be made by one of you against the other.

Let me know if you need any further clarification.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you for the clarification on the definition of common-law spouse. As you mentioned above, the prudent approach is to have a cohabitation agreement. I am wondering what cohabitation agreement could do in order to protect my own assets? Does it like a prenup which could clarify the ownership of assets? What should I do if I only want to maintain a healthy relationship with my boyfriend right now, like sharing an address and one joint account, without being recognized as a common-law spouse for more than 3 years?
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

The cohabitation agreement is very similar to a marriage contract (that is term we use in Canada. A pre-nup is the US term). The agreement is a contract where the two of you decide what will happen if the relationship breaks down. So the Act doesn't apply but the contract is what sets the rules.

You would be able to say that you each own what is in your own name and neither can make a claim for an interest in any asset in the other's name. You can also say that regardless of how long you cohabit neither can ever bring a spousal support claim.

It is fair because you are both deciding and sometimes the law is not fair otherwise.

As well, if your relationship ends there is no legal battle and that is a huge, huge plus.

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