Common Law

Canadian common law opens up a new door for the partners who live together without any marital relationships. They can live like a married couple, separate when they feel like it, and even enjoy the rights to claim spousal support, just like in a legally marital relationship. But common law places some restrictions and conditions to enjoy these rights. Here, we will discuss the requirements and how long you have to be together in common law in the following sections of this article.

What Is a Common Law Partner or Spouse?

Usually, a spouse is called the two persons who marry each other. Although they carry almost the same meaning, partners and spouses do not always serve the same purposes. For being a spouse, marriage is mandatory. However, while becoming partners of each other, it is not necessary to marry someone.

In the family law act of any state, spousal rights and responsibilities make a significant section, and the idea is almost clear to all. But in some states, like Canada, especially in Ontario and Manitoba, the family law act involves the rights of partners who are not spouses, not married actually. The common law of Canada makes it easier for both married and unmarried partners by establishing particular rules about their rights and responsibilities. This available partnership, in Canada, is often termed cohabitation.

What Is the Common Law in Manitoba?

Manitoba is one of the most popular provinces of Canada. Common law in Manitoba includes some special rights and responsibilities for the unmarried partners, just like the married partners in the family act law. Common law is applicable for both partnerships made of the same sexes and different sexes. Unmarried partnerships typically do not possess that many benefits like married relationships. But it contains some benefits for those who prefer spending time and living together with their partners before marriage. They live several years together before making the final decision of marriage.

Meanwhile, if an unmarried couple feels that they are no longer happy with each other and want to get separated, common law provides them that opportunity. Even like a married couple, they possess the right to have their spousal support for themselves and their children after separation.

How Long Do You Have to Be Together to Be Common Law?

You already know that common law in Manitoba accepts unmarried spousal relationships and provides equal rights for having spousal support after separation, just like a married relationship. But it is not that simple that you start to live together with your partner, and after some days, you want separation and get your spousal support. No, not at all. Manitoba sets some restrictions on your spousal support after the break when you are not legally married to your partner.

At least, you have to be together with your partner for three years to be common law. When you and your partner live for long three years together, and then you realize that you need to be separated, the common law will allow you to claim your spousal support after your separation. Otherwise, if you live less than three years together, you will no longer be allowed to claim your spousal support under common law. Canadian Family Maintenance Act included this law in 2001. If you do not have children within these three years, you will still claim your support for yourself.

What Is The Spousal Support For Common Law Partners?

In case of a relationship breakdown, joint law partners contain the right to claim their spousal support from their partners. In addition, both partners have equal rights to access their partner’s financial accounts, properties, and other belongings while being in the relationship. But when they get separated, they have some changes in their rights.

For example, in the case of children custody, rights and responsibilities get divided between both partners. Sometimes, equality is not maintained in terms of financial support for children. The person who is more solvent might bear the more significant portion of financial expenses for their children.

In the case of property division, it is not at all the same as the conventional married relationships. That means you will not possess any rights on the properties of your partner that he or she owned personally. You only have rights on the properties in which you both have equal contributions or at least a portion of the contribution. But the property your partner builds or buys with his or her own money will never get divided between you. The case is the same with your property also.


Finally, now you have a clear conception about common-law relationships and how long you must be together to be common law. If you face the same situation in your own life, we recommend contacting a professional lawyer in the family law act. A lawyer can best befriend you in the entire process of this.

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