Answers to Questions about Common-Law Separation in Alberta

Answers to Questions about Common-Law Separation in Alberta

Home Separation Answers to Questions about Common-Law Separation in Alberta
If you are living in with your partner in Alberta, even if you remain unmarried, there are certain rights and duties that you need to fulfill. That is why separating from your partner whom you have been living in the same household with is a little more complex than just packing up your bags to leave. Common law separation is covered by the Family Property Act in Alberta. This means that there are legal stipulations that need to be dealt with before you and your partner can formally separate. To learn more about the details of common-law, keep reading below.

Common-Law vs Adult Interdependent Relationship

You may hear the terms “common-law” and “adult interdependent relationship” interchangeably. But you may be wondering whether these two are the same or if there is any sort of difference. The answer is simple: these two terms are actually the same. However, in legal proceedings, the term “common-law” is not recognized and what’s used is “adult interdependent relationship.”

What Classifies as a Common-Law Relationship?

To put it simply, a common-law relationship is a relationship wherein partners live with one another but are not legally married. Instead, they are in a marriage-like relationship. Additionally, the involved must be living together for at least 3 years or must have entered into a formal agreement to recognize the adult interdependent relationship. It is also important to note that if the couple has a child, this would change the situation. The parties do not necessarily then have to be living together for 3 years but only for some time. It is also important to note that it does not matter whether the child is biological or adopted.

What about the Division of Property?

As of January 2020, the division of property among common-law partners is now treated in the same manner as married couples. After separation, they will be given 2 years to make property claims. Additionally, property division rules will be applied to the process.

Will I Need a Lawyer for Separation from My Common-Law Partner?

No, you are not legally required to have a lawyer in this type of separation. However, it is recommended that you do so. By having a personal lawyer involved to represent you, you know that your rights will be protected and met. It will also lessen the stress and burden because lawyers will know what to do in your situation and will help you get through the process.

Can I Receive Spousal Support?

Yes, you may receive spousal support if the separation qualifies under the Family Law Act. This is especially important to know if you are unmarried but have a child. However, it would still depend on the given circumstances, and the final legal decision will be made based on the proceedings.

What Else Do I Need to Consider during the Separation?

Aside from spousal support and division of property, you will also need to deal with the division of finances and co-parenting the child. This is why it is highly recommended that you have a lawyer present with you during the process so that your rights are not neglected.


In Alberta, the rights of common-law partners are treated in the same manner as married couples. This means that you will have to deal with the division of finances and co-parenting the child. If you need assistance throughout the process, hiring a lawyer will benefit you because that person will be knowledgeable in the matter and will ensure that you are aware of your rights and duties. Are you going to be separated or getting a divorce in Alberta? The whole process can be messy and stressful. But you can lessen the burden with our help at Alberta Divorce Finances. We make it easier for you by helping you deal with the financial matters throughout your divorce. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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