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Married or Not

Married or NOT? Do you even know?

Living together

If you live with someone without being married, people say you are in a common law relationship or are cohabiting.

In 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that people who live together in a same sex relationship have the same rights and obligations as opposite sex common law couples. When this booklet says “common law couples” it means both opposite sex common law couples and same sex common law couples.


Common law couples do not have the same rights as married couples to share the property they bought when they were living together. Usually, furniture, household belongings and other property belong to the person who bought them. Common law couples also do not have the right to divide between them the increase in value of the property they brought with them to the relationship.

If you have contributed to property your partner owns, you may have a right to part of it. Unless your partner agrees to pay you back, you will have to go to court to prove your contribution.


If your common law relationship ends, and you do not have enough money to support yourself, you can ask your partner to pay support.

Courtesy of: Department of Justice Canada. August 1999 Rev. March 2002. ISBN 0-7778-8502-6 This booklet contains information about the law as it was at the time it was written. The law can change. Check the Ministry of the Attorney General website at for current information.