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Common Law relationship

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  • Common Law relationship

    Hello there, I was wondering if you would be able to answer a question for me. My girlfriend and I are wanting to live common law, however we are both still married. Is is legal for us to live common law even though we are both still married?

    We are separated from our current spouses and have no intention of returning. We are both Canandian citizens

    Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.

    Thank you very much,

    A wondering boyfriend.
    Last edited by TazMan; 08-23-2005, 09:55 PM. Reason: add more info

  • #2
    I can't say for certain about Canadian law but In the U.S this is not possible and even very few states in the U.S even recognize common law marriages but again, not sure of Canada.


    • #3
      Common Law relationship

      Suzy72 wrote:
      I can't say for certain about Canadian law but In the U.S this is not possible and even very few states in the U.S even recognize common law marriages but again, not sure of Canada.
      I'm not a lawyer but it only seems logical that if you're already
      married, you can not be considered to be in a common law marriage
      with another person no matter what country you're living in. And
      the resource I just checked said 11 states and the District of Columbia
      recognize common law marriages. While that's not a majority, don't know
      if I would classify it as 'very few'.



      • #4
        Here is some Canada information:

        Canadian federal law does not have "common law marriage", but various federal laws include "common law status," which automatically takes effect once two people (of any gender) have lived together in a romantic relationship for one full year. Partners may be eligible for various government benefits of married spouses based upon their relationship with the individual who is eligible for some type of family based benefit. As family law varies between provinces, there are differences between the provinces regarding the recognition of common law marriage.

        In Ontario, a common law province, the Ontario Family Law Act specifically recognizes common law spouses in sec. 29 dealing with spousal support issues; the requirements are living together for three years or having a child in common and having "cohabitated in a relationship of some permanence." However, the part that deals with marital property excludes common law spouses as sec. 2 defines spouses as those who are married together or who entered into a void or voidable marriage in good faith. Thus common law partners do not always evenly divide property in a breakup, and the courts have to look to concepts such as the constructive or resulting trust to divide property in an equitable manner between partners. Another difference that distinguishes common law spouses from married partners is that a common law partner can be compelled to testify against his or her partner in a court of law.

        In 1999, after the court case M. v. H., the Supreme Court of Canada decided that same-sex partners would also be included in common law relationships.

        Québec, which unlike the other provinces has a Civil Code, has never recognized common-law partnership as a kind of marriage. See about De Facto Marriage in Québec. However, many laws in Québec explicitly apply to common-law partners (called "de facto unions" or conjoints de fait) as they do to spouses. See a List of These Rights and Freedoms As in the other provinces, same-sex partners may become common-law spouses in Québec.

        A recent amendment to the Civil Code of Québec recognizes a type of domestic partnership called civil union that is similar to common-law marriage and is likewise available to same-sex partners.

        A federal bill to recognize statutory marriage between same-sex couples is now pending before the Senate. This follows upon the decisions of several federal courts that have struck down, within the provincial bounds of their jurisdiction, that portion of the federal Marriage Act which limits statutory marriage to opposite-sex couples. As of July 2005, same-sex marriages, which must be recognised across the country, are legally performed in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory.

        As far as the 11 states, it's actually lower then that I know because all lists I found still list PA and they no longer have CL either now.. not sure on the others.


        • #5
          not from Canada, but common sense should tell you you need to be divorced from your spouses to be common law married to another party


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