There are some distinctions and some similarities between the rights of a common law spouse and a marital spouse.
With certain exceptions — section 199 of the current Family Law Act — the remedies available to a common law spouse are based on the law of trust and a multiplicity of factors.
Section 199 of the Family Law Act mandates if parties have entered in to a certain type of contract, it may be reviewed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia for fairness as determined under part 5 of that statute.
Written Property Division Agreements
Written property division agreements are often an effective way for common law spouses to establish who is entitled to property on separation. Retaining an experienced lawyer during the creation of this agreement is strongly recommended to avoid future disputes.
If you cannot agree on a property division agreement, the courts will decide the issue. In making the decision, the judge will consider the property you brought into the relationship, the assets you acquired jointly during the relationship, and the financial and nonfinancial contributions you have made to the household.
Contribution to Assets
The judge will also consider whether the relationship was structured as a joint effort. For example, if one party stayed home to take care of the household and children while the other party was the primary wage earner, the relationship may be classified as a joint effort. In these types of cases, the lower income earner may have an equal right to the accumulated assets.
It is important to speak to a lawyer who knows the law as it relates to common law partners’ rights and can address your specific concerns. As the largest family law group in British Columbia, Quay Law Centre has the experience and skill necessary to help you achieve the results you desire.
To schedule a consultation, contact Quay Law Centre online, or call us locally at 604-527-1161. From our multiple offices, we represent clients in the Metro-Vancouver area, including Surrey, Fraser Valley, Tri-Cities, Burnaby, Kelowna, and any other area throughout B.C., Canada and internationally.