Ontario Family Law Podcast

Ontario Family Law Podcast

20 - What Living Common Law Means (and What It Doesn’t)

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20 - What Living Common Law Means (and Doesn't)

In this, the twentieth, episode of the Ontario Family Law Podcast, Certified Specialist in Family Law, and top divorce lawyer, host John Schuman discusses common law relationships.  

Common law relationships are not at all the same as being married.  There are very important differences with regard to property rights and spousal support rights.  Common law couples are often entitled to a lot less than they think and, in this episode, John explains all those differences.   He also explains many of the other important laws that apply to common relationships including:

-   the rights of parents in common relationships

-   child support where the parents are not married

-   the lack of protection for common law partners in relation to the family home

-   restraining orders against a common law partner

-   the rights to make medical decisions for a common partner

-   inheritance rights for common law partners

-   the definition of "common law" for tax purposes,

-   how common law partners' rights can be modified with a cohabitation agreement and

-   several other issues.

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If you are living common law, you really should find out what that does and does not mean.  Knowing how the law applies to your relationship may affect many of your decisions, including, perhaps, whether you stay in this relationship.  Common partners can avoid getting themselves into serious trouble by listening to this podcast.  

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Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle

For more information on common law relationships, check out this page and this blog on parenting rights, this blog on rights to a family home or this blog on property rights. You can also watch this video. But, for the most comprehensive information about family law issues, aside from speaking to a top family law lawyer, pick up a copy of this Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law, which is available as an e-book for Amazon Kindle or Kobo, and as an iBook for iPad, iPhone and Mac, or as a paperback from Amazon and other fine book sellers.  The Guide is an easy-to-understand explanation of the basics of all aspects of Ontario Family Law, from a description of Family Court and the other ways to resolve family law matters, to a description of the most important family law topics, to tips on how to avoid common mistakes  and succeed after separation.

If you would like to comment on this podcast, please use the form below.  Your comments may help others in difficult family law or divorce situations.   You can also use the form below to suggest topics for future editions of the Ontario Family Law Podcast.


Tatiana Terekhova, Divorce Financial Analyst - President & Founder at FAIRSPLIT Inc., Milton, Ontario

Fantastic podcast! Recommend to everybody: not just people going through divorce. Ordering books as a giveaway to my clients. Excellent staff. Thank you John.

Larry Byrne - Attorney at Law at Pedersen & Houpt

In Illinois it has no meaning. The courts in Illinois do not recognize common law marriage in any manner.

Terry McNiff - Attorney--Author of "Picture Your Divorce to See The Right Decisions"

Ditto California.

Common law marriage does not exist in California.

We have Marvin or palimony actions instead.

More fun than common law marriage, I think.

Larry Byrne - Attorney at Law at Pedersen & Houpt

No such animal in Illinois. Palimony does not exist either.


© John P. Schuman and John P. Schuman, Professional Corporation - 2012-2023