Ending a relationship can be challenging for common-law spouses

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Friday, August 14, 2015.

For some Calgary area residents, marriage is not necessary to demonstrate commitment. Instead, couples may choose to live together as common-law spouses. While the couples who opt for this arrangement may feel that it works fine, it is not the same as an actual marriage as those who are a party to it are not bestowed the same rights as couples that marry.

This does not mean that they don’t have any rights however. In fact, common-law spouses have rights and obligations regarding the division of property that arise as a result of their relationship status. If a common-law spouse refuses to divide the assets a legal claim could be pursued.

The basis of such a claim is either that assets in questions were obtained because of a joint family venture or that the party to the relationship can demonstrate that he or she contributed to the assets. The key is of course to prove that one or both of these is true.

In addition to looking for contributions from a spouse, a court will look to certain factors when trying to make this determination. These include:

  • Mutual effort
  • Economic integration
  • Intent and priority of the family

There is no question that the end of a relationship can be difficult not only emotionally, but financially as well. To make the process easier to navigate many find it beneficial to work with a family law lawyer. At Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP, we handle these sorts of cases. To learn how we may be of service to you, please see our website.

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