How Ontario Defines Common Law Marriage

Common-Law Marriage Ontario
  • Roughly 1 in 5 Canadians are in common-law relationships, this number has increased by 300% since 1981.

  • You are in a common-law “marriage” if you have lived together in a conjugal relationship for a continuous period of 3 years.

  • Equalization of family assets does not apply automatically in common-law marriages.

  • Nothing is automatic for Common-law couples in Ontario, you will also have to decide on the division of family property, spousal support and child arrangements after a relationship breakdown.

  • A partner who made financial or non-financial contributions towards securing the home may protect their rights on the basis of a constructive trust.

  • The law does not give common-law couples as much protection as it provides formally married spouses in a divorce.

  • Depending on the nature of your relationship with your spouse and the possibility of separation, this may put you at a disadvantage.

  • The CRA considers a couple in a common-law relationship to have separated when they experience a breakdown in their relationship for a period of at least 90 days.

  • Married couples usually have far more rights than those in common-law marriages.

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About the Author:
Ken Maynard ADFA, Acc.FM

I assist intelligent and successful couples in crafting clear and straightforward separation agreements, ensuring a smooth transition towards a secure future. This is achieved in four meetings or less, sidestepping the excessive conflicts, confusion, and costs often associated with legal proceedings. You have the option to collaborate with me via video conference or in-person with a DTSW associate at any of our six Greater Toronto mediation centers, located in Aurora, Barrie, North York, Vaughan, Mississauga, and Scarborough.

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