Parenting & Family

Married vs Common-Law Rules In Ontario

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  • Jul 23rd, 2020 10:36 am
[OP]
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Nov 29, 2009
210 posts
136 upvotes
London

Married vs Common-Law Rules In Ontario

Hello Fellow Rfdr's,

I have done my research but thought I would asked the "masses" for any additional helpful information. Specifically, the MAJOR laws that differ between the two? It never is a bad thing to want more or (better?) information imo.

TIA ...
WISDOM IS JUST A HIGHER LEVEL OF COMMON SENSE ...
5 replies
Deal Guru
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Dec 22, 2005
14492 posts
184 upvotes
Kingston, ON
fortune500 wrote: Hello Fellow Rfdr's,

I have done my research but thought I would asked the "masses" for any additional helpful information. Specifically, the MAJOR laws that differ between the two? It never is a bad thing to want more or (better?) information imo.

TIA ...
Very little after a year cohabitating I believe. You're treated under law as a married couple after that whether you or your partner likes it.

Only real difference is property division in the case of a split.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be wasted.
Red Green
[OP]
Member
Nov 29, 2009
210 posts
136 upvotes
London
king_george wrote: Very little after a year cohabitating I believe. You're treated under law as a married couple after that whether you or your partner likes it.

Only real difference is property division in the case of a split.
I appreciate your input with your comment on "property division" which is correct. However, under Ontario rules you have to be cohabiting for a minimum 3 years except in the case of having a child together either naturally or by adoption in which case it is a minimum of 1 year to be considered "common law". I just didn't want someone to think they were in a common law relationship with only one year together. Cheers!
WISDOM IS JUST A HIGHER LEVEL OF COMMON SENSE ...
Deal Guru
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Dec 22, 2005
14492 posts
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Kingston, ON
fortune500 wrote: I appreciate your input with your comment on "property division" which is correct. However, under Ontario rules you have to be cohabiting for a minimum 3 years except in the case of having a child together either naturally or by adoption in which case it is a minimum of 1 year to be considered "common law". I just didn't want someone to think they were in a common law relationship with only one year together. Cheers!
Thanks. I just checked and I got the one year number from a benefits manual from the provincial government. After a year together then the couple gets marital benefits. 3 years seems reasonable but I've read of some truly horrid breakups that rival bitter divorces.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be wasted.
Red Green
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Jan 11, 2008
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fortune500 wrote: I appreciate your input with your comment on "property division" which is correct. However, under Ontario rules you have to be cohabiting for a minimum 3 years except in the case of having a child together either naturally or by adoption in which case it is a minimum of 1 year to be considered "common law". I just didn't want someone to think they were in a common law relationship with only one year together. Cheers!
Keep in mind, for the CRA - for tax purposes, they use one year. You're supposed to change your marital status with them at the end of the following month after your status changed.
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Jan 2, 2012
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fortune500 wrote: I appreciate your input with your comment on "property division" which is correct. However, under Ontario rules you have to be cohabiting for a minimum 3 years except in the case of having a child together either naturally or by adoption in which case it is a minimum of 1 year to be considered "common law". I just didn't want someone to think they were in a common law relationship with only one year together. Cheers!
There are multiple definitions of common-law depending if you are looking at Provincial or Federal applications.

Under Federal law, regardless of Province you are common-law for CRA tax purposes after 1 year of cohabitation, or immediately if you are cohabiting less than 1 year but had a child together. For taxes it is mandatory (not optional) to change status to common-law after it happens.
Also under Federal law for immigration purposes (so sponsoring a common-law partner for PR) the rule is 1 year. For immigration there is no exception for having a child together, you still need 1 year cohabitation.

For family law purposes, this follows Provincial rules so that is where the 3 years (or less if child together) for Ontario applies. For the rules on this and how it differs from marriage, there are ample articles from lawyers with a quick google search. https://www.separation.ca/family-law/common-law/

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