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Common Law Vs Adult Interdependent Relationships

Common Law vs Adult Interdependent Relationships

If you are in a common-law relationship in Alberta and decide to separate, you may wonder which laws apply. The first thing that you need to know is that “common-law” is a term that is no longer used in family law in Alberta. What are commonly known as common law partners are legally known as Adult Interdependent Partners. If you proceed down the path of separation, you will not see the term common law used in any of your documentation. However, colloquially, these terms are used interchangeably.

In Alberta, the separation of Adult Interdependent Partners is primarily governed by the Family Property Act and the Family Law Act. While they are not legally married, Alberta’s family law system recognizes couples in Adult Interdependent Partnerships as having the same legal rights and obligations upon the breakdown of the relationship.

Whether you’re contemplating separation or already in the process, this guide aims to provide clarity on how Adult Interdependent Partner separation works in Alberta. Remember, you’re not alone in this. Calgary divorce lawyers like Jones Divorce & Family Law can be invaluable to have on your side, providing the guidance and support you need during this transition.

Qualifying for Adult Interdependent Partner Separation Proceedings in Alberta

Clarity on your legal standing is crucial to avoid false expectations when a relationship ends. To legally qualify as an Adult Interdependent Partner, there are three factors to consider:

  • If the parties have been living together in a relationship of interdependence for at least three years;
  • If the parties have been living together in a relationship of interdependence of some permanence if there is a child of the relationship either by birth or adoption; and
  • If the parties have entered into an adult interdependent relationship agreement (which is a legal document signed by both parties).
  • Given that you can automatically qualify as Adult Interdependent Partners based on one of the above factors, couples will often choose to enter into a cohabitation agreement to protect their assets when planning to live together.

Division of Property

As of January 1, 2020, couples in an Adult Interdependent Partnership in Alberta have the same legal rights and obligations regarding the division of property as married couples.

The Family Property Act provides that the Courts can distribute the family property between the Adult Interdependent Partners equally unless it would not be just and equitable to do so. Should the Court feel that it should displace the presumption of equal distribution it will then consider the factors laid out in the Act that cover a variety of circumstances that will inevitably vary from family to family.

Getting Help When Going Through the Separation Process

Separation can be complicated, and you want to be prepared to protect your rights and interests. Seeking a skilled, professional separation lawyer in Calgary who understands Alberta’s Family Property Act will reduce the stress of dividing assets and debts.

If you are going through a common-law separation in Calgary and have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Jones Divorce & Family Law. We specialize in the breakdown of relationships, including:

  • Negotiations
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation
  • Parenting coordination and more.

We’re here for you during what is often one of the most challenging times in your and your family’s life.

The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.