Domestic Partnership Canada: Do You Have to Live Together To Be Domestic Partners

Domestic Partnership Canada: Do You Have to Live Together To Be Domestic Partners

In Canada, you may live with your partner for several years and not think much of it. You have your own lives and since you are not married, you may think of yourselves as individuals more than a couple who has property interlinked.

Are you really still individuals, or are you considered to be a common-law couple?

In the eyes of the law, you are as good as married when you live together for two years or longer, even if you do not get married or have children. In fact, after you live together for two years, you can be considered to be in a common law marriage. The new legal definition for a spouse came in during March, and now the spousal relationship begins the day you move in with your spouse.

Are there laws that protect couples who live together in British Columbia?

This new law treats couples the same way as married couples once they live together for several years. This helps in cases of property division, because both people are invested into the property and relationship, just like they would be if they were married and living together. Now, they both have legal rights to that property in some way.

How are assets split when you are a common-law couple?

Now, people who live together for two years have the same legal rights as married couples, splitting their assets 50/50 (except for exemptions). Across Canada, these rights vary significantly, so this change is ideal for people in British Columbia. Now, you know exactly where you stand.


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.