On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Sunday, November 18, 2018.
Same-sex married couples have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts and so the same rules apply when they split up. As with heterosexual couples, family law differences are whether couples are legally married or in common law unions. In Alberta, common-law couples are referred to as adult interdependent partners, applicable after the couple has lived together for three years or more or has a child and live together.
If children are part of the relationship, whether the couple is married or living in a common law partnership, issues can get a little confusing. A same-sex couple can adopt a child, but if they have a child where one partner is biologically related, the other partner technically has no legal rights when it comes to the child. Adoption is an option, but experts say someone should not have to adopt his or her child in a same-sex partnership even if the child isn’t biologically related. Efforts are underway to fix the law.
When it comes to same-sex parents and divorce, a separation agreement can even stipulate that children be brought up learning about inclusiveness and diversity. The bottom line is that same-sex couples want the same rights and dignities afforded to heterosexual couples. They want to be part of a community.
Fights over property among same-sex couples who are splitting up — whether married or not — could likely be diffused by having marital or cohabitation agreements in place. Any agreement that is in place while a couple is living together can transition into a post nuptial agreement should the couple marry. A lawyer who practices family law is in a position to help Alberta residents with these kinds of legal issues, especially when they seem unclear.
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