When am I considered a common-law spouse?

In Ontario, the Family Law Act defines a common-law spouse, for the purposes of spousal support, as two people who have cohabited for at least three years or who are in a relationship of some permanence and have a natural or adopted child together.

As a common-law spouse, am I automatically entitled to half of our family property upon separation?


No, you are not automatically entitled to share any of your common-law spouse’s property when you separate, unless you are a joint owner with your spouse. The Family Law Act only provides for married couples to automatically share the property accumulated during the marriage. However, you may have a claim against your common-law spouse in certain situations where you contributed to the family property.This area of the law, which has been developed through court decisions, is complicated in terms of the requirements needed to make such a claim. For advice on your specific situation, contact AGB Lawyers at 613-226-8817 for a free, no-obligation consultation.