Common Law

People living in a common law marriage are not considered married under Canadian law. However, when their relationship ends, many of their rights are the same as for people in a regular marriage. There are also many important differences.

To be considered a common law marriage, the couple must live together a certain period of time. The amount of time varies from province to province,in Ontario the period is three years. To complicate matters further, Federal legislation often specifies a different period for a relationship to be considered a common law marriage for federal law purposes – normally only one year -Ontario considers a couple to be in a common law marriage if they have a child together and are living together, regardless of the length of time that they have lived together.

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