Family Law / Divorce Library

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Adult interdependent partners are similar to "common law couples", although "common law" is technically a tax term.

Being adult interdependent partners can lead to property division, partner support, and estate rights.

People generally become adult interdependent partners of each other in three circumstances:

  1. They live together in a relationship of interdependence for a continuous period of at least 3 years;
  2. Where they have a child together by birth or adoption, they live together in a relationship of interdependence of some permanence; or
  3. They enter into an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement with the other person (specific form).

Whether people live in a "relationship of interdependence" depends on whether they:

  1. Share one another's lives;
  2. Are emotionally committed to one another; and
  3. Function as an economic and domestic unit, which involves considering all relevant circumstances including:
  1. Whether or not they have a conjugal relationship;
  2. The degree of exclusivity of the relationship;
  3. Their conduct and habits relating to household activities and living arrangements;
  4. The degree to which they hold themselves out to others as an economic and domestic unit (have they told people that they are in a relationship?);
  5. The degree to which they formalize their legal obligations, intentions and responsibilities toward one another (e.g. are they in each other's Wills?);
  6. The extent to which direct and indirect contributions have been made by either person to the other or to their mutual well‑being;
  7. The degree of financial dependence or interdependence and any arrangements for financial support between the persons;
  8. The care and support of children; and
  9. The ownership, use, and acquisition of property.


Content by Ken Proudman (Edmonton)

Page last reviewed for out-of-date information on [under construction].

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