Calgary & Strathmore Family Lawyers Advising on Common-Law Separation

The separation of a common-law relationship (or “adult interdependent relationship”, as it is known under Alberta family law) involves several considerations relating to adult interdependent partner support, child support, and division of property. The family lawyers at Getz Collins and Associates help common-law couples navigate the complexities of their finances, property, and parenting obligations post-separation.

How to Determine if You Are in a Common-Law/Adult Interdependent Relationship in Alberta

The first question a person should ask themselves before determining what they are entitled to after a common-law separation is: “Am I in a common-law relationship?” Common-law partners are not married through legal definition but are acknowledged by Alberta’s family law system. In Alberta, these are referred to as “adult interdependent relationships”. “Common-law”, as a phrase, is no longer used in the court system, though it is still a common shortening you may hear.

In Alberta, the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act sets out whether a couple is in an adult interdependent or “common-law” relationship. The couple must:

  • Have lived together in a relationship of interdependence (i.e. they are a committed couple and share their lives as an economic and domestic unit) for at least three years;
  • Have lived together in a relationship of some permanence and have a child together through birth or adoption; or
  • Have signed an adult interdependent partner agreement.

How Are Properties & Assets Divided in a Common-Law Separation?

Property is generally kept or built separately in the case of a common-law relationship. As such, the separation of property is determined by the original owner. However, if assets are purchased after living together, they fall under the division of assets, just as with a regular divorce.

During the division of assets and debts, each partner is required to “take one’s own things” upon the termination of the relationship. There is no automatic entitlement to spousal support in Canada, though there are certain situations in which a court may find it appropriate to order it. Just as with a divorce, the couple shall divide their assets equally amongst each other, 50/50.

Separation Agreements & Adult Interdependent Relationships

A separation agreement is a vital tool for common-law/adult interdependent partners after their relationship ends. Filing for official documentation legitimizes the legality of a relationship and further solidifies adult, unmarried, and interdependent relationships as legal entities.

After a separation agreement is filed, the unmarried couple can maintain a neutral ground while addressing their concerns, dividing property, and handling support issues. If children are involved, legal and financial obligation awareness is critical for the parents partaking in the adult interdependent relationship.

Contact Getz Collins and Associates for Trusted Advice on Common-Law/Adult Interdependent Relationships in Calgary & Strathmore

At Getz Collins and Associates, we know every couple and relationship is unique. Our family and divorce lawyers employ a community-minded, client-centric approach to create personalized family law solutions for each client. No matter what level of support is needed, we provide flexible options for common-law/adult interdependent couples across Alberta.

Conveniently based in Calgary and Strathmore, Getz Collins and Associates represents clients across Alberta, including Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks, Drumheller, Chestermere, Hussar, and all surrounding communities. To discuss your family matter, phone us at 587-391-5600 or contact us online.