What is the Start of a Common Law Relationship When You Move In With Someone in Alberta
Common law relationships are confusing to most people. There are lots of rumours and non-legal speculation as to when common law relationship rights and obligations start. This article sets out the basics of when legal rights start in common law relationships as well as how you can protect yourself. Common law relationships are also sometimes referred to as adult interdependent relationships. The family law lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, help you understand if common law relationship laws apply to your current relationship.
When Do Common Law Property Rights Begin in Alberta?
Contrary to popular belief there is no 6-month, 1 year or 3 year rule on common law property rights. The first day you move in with a significant other common law property rights are triggered. It is important that you both know this fact. You also need to take the time to learn about what the laws are that will apply to you.
How to Protect Yourself When You Enter a Common Law Relationship
If you enter a common law relationship, the best way to become aware of the laws that apply to you is to book a consultation with an experienced common law lawyer. The family law lawyer can go over the law as applicable to your specific set of common law relationship circumstances. An important thing to note about this is that is in your best interests to meet with a more senior lawyer as this area of law is quite complicated. You do not want to have a meeting with a lawyer who is less experienced and not capable of addressing all of your questions efficiently.
A more experienced lawyer will cost more per hour. The extra hourly cost is worthwhile as they can cover everything in an hour or an hour and a half. Most experienced can schedule a family law consultation fairly quickly. They may not be taking on any new clients, but they will make time for a simple consultation. This process will let you know your rights and responsibilities in a common law relationship.
How Not to Get Legal Advice About Your Common Law Relationship
There are three specific things you should not do to get legal advice about protecting you and your assets when you move in with someone. When starting a common law relationship it is important to know what you are doing and make an informed choice. While no one expects a relationship to fall apart, sometimes they do. What you should not do for legal advice is:
- Ask (or listen to) your friends and family for legal advice about common law relationships.
- Call five family law lawyers and try to piece together free advice with a variety of 5-10 minute calls.
- Look for free legal consultations where you only get some information (not advice). Use the link for more information on that.
To make an informed choice, you need legal advice you can rely on from an experienced lawyer. The lawyer needs to know all the details of your specific common law situation including the assets and debts of you and your partner.
The Best Common Law Asset Protection
After you meet with a lawyer to discuss common law relationship property rights, you will then want to look at getting a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is drafted between you and your partner. A cohabitation agreement is a contract for two people who live together. This is a contract that sets out how you divide your property and deal with any support matters in the event you separate. The lawyer can outline the process and costs involved with completing a cohabitation agreement.
What If You Do Not Want To Get A Cohabitation Agreement
A cohabitation agreement is the best way to protect your assets when you enter a common law relationship. Some people entering a common law relationship do not want to get one. The most common reasons for not wanting a cohabitation agreement are:
- Couples do not want to spend the money
- People are afraid to raise the topic with their common law partner
- Individuals feel that it is bad luck for a relationship.
If you decide not to draft an agreement, the following steps can be taken which will help (thought less effectively than an agreement) in the event of separation:
- Complete an Summary Statement where you set out all of the assets and debts that you have in your name as of the date that you start to live together;
- Gather all bank statements and proof of loans and investment values etc which support the summarized asset and debt page you completed.
Keep all of the documents in a safe place. These will be the first thing your lawyer needs to know when and if you have to meet one following a separation.