“My partner and I have been living together for over two years. Are we common law?”
When you live with someone without being married, it’s called living in a common-law relationship. If you do this, the law usually sees you as a spouse after a certain amount of time.
To be considered to legally be in a common law relationship in British Columbia, you must be living with your partner in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years. When you separate from your common-law spouse, each of you is entitled to 50% of all family property and responsible for 50% of the family debt.
If you have a child together and have lived in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years, you can claim child support and spousal support but not an equal division of property.
If you were living together in a marriage-like relationship without children for less than two years, you have no statutory rights on separation. However, you may retain a common law/equitable claim to the property based on contributions you made to the relationship.
A cohabitation agreement can be beneficial if you and your partner are thinking about moving in together — or have already moved in with each other.
There is a time limit on making a claim, therefore it’s crucial that you to talk to an experienced family law lawyer as soon as possible.