A common law partnership is essentially a marriage under Manitoba law. While the process of dissolving the marriage is a little different, the laws that impact the division of property, child support, and spousal support are all basically the same.
That means that you can’t just move out if you want to protect your financial rights or your relationship with your children. You need a qualified family lawyer to help you draw up an agreement that will enforce your rights.
What is common law?
Common law is an adult interdependent partnership that happens when you act as a common domestic and financial unit. You live together, share assets, are involved in a marriage-like relationship, and may raise children together. You simply never got the marriage license or stood before an official to declare vows.
Common law couples have the same rights under the Family Marriage Act as legally married spouses do. That means they have an equal right to property acquired during the common law relationship. It means either spouse could petition the court for spousal support. If there are children, the child will still have a right to child support just like the children of married couples will.
How do you become common law in Manitoba?
There are three ways.
The first way is to live together for one year and have a child together. The second is to live together for three years. The third is to register your relationship with the Vital Statistics Agency, which can be done at any time, even if you’ve only lived together for a few days.
Manitoba is the only province that offers the Vital Statistics registry option.
Do you need a separation agreement for common law?
Yes, and there are additional steps you’ll have to take to dissolve the common law relationship. Moving out won’t immediately be enough.
You can dissolve your relationship at the Vital Statistics agency, or you can live apart for three years. Yet to settle the matters of property and debt division, child support, child custody, and spousal support you will need a formal separation agreement.
You may negotiate a separation agreement without going to court, but the court must still approve the agreement to make sure the best interests of any children are being respected. We help you draft agreements that hold up in court. We will also make sure all property is accounted for, and will help you make sure your ex doesn’t gain an unfair advantage over you.
The agreement protects you. If your ex decides to start blocking your parenting time, for example, you can then use the agreement to take them to court. The court will enforce your access and your relationship with your child will be preserved.
Get Help from Family Lawyer Winnipeg
Call us if you’re ready to end your common law relationship. Our experienced family lawyers will help you craft a separation agreement that works for you.
To get started, call (204) 896-7777 to schedule a consultation.