Are you “living common law”? What does “living common law” mean in Ontario Law?

More and more people are choosing to live together, and even have children, without getting married. Couples choose to live in a “common law relationship”. However, there is a lot of confusion over what “living common law” means in Ontario Law. That confusion may be because the definition of “common law relationship” is different in Ontario Family Law, tax law, employment law, and pension and benefits. The definition of “common law” is also different from Canadian province to province and different in the United States. This informative video explains the definition of “common law relationship” and answers the question “Am I legally in a common law relationship?”

If you and your partner are choosing to live in common law, it is important to know that living in common law gives you many fewer rights than being married – even after you have lived together for many years. If you are living together with someone, or even planning to live together with someone, you need to know how the law applies to you with regard to child support, spousal support, property division, and child custody in a common law relationship. Watch this video to understand what Ontario Law says about “being common law”.

If you are living common law, not only should you know what that means, but you should not how to protect your rights. For a lot more information on the legal definition of “common law relationship” and what “ being common law” means in Ontario Family Law, get a copy of this $25 easy-to-understand book on Ontario Family Law. (also available as a $9.99 ebook). There is also more information about common law relationships on this page. 

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To contact John Schuman, Certified Specialist in Family Law, call 416-446-5847, email him at, or use the form on this page.

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