This video is about whether or not you live in a common law relationship. As you know, many couples have for some time now lived in common law relationships without the sanctity of a marriage certificate. For many of those years, they were legally unprotected but in recent years, that has changed. Now, generally speaking, if a party—if parties, I should say, lived together for two years, they’re generally considered in British Columbia for most of our statutes to be a common law couple. Thus, they have claims under the Wills Variation Act. They can inherit on an intestacy and they have claims under statutes such as the Family Compensation Act with respect to wrongful deaths.
There are many criteria as to whether a couple lives in a common law relationship because just as many possibilities of various relationships exist today as one could possibly imagine. So the courts will look at such things as whether you in fact even live under the same roof or do you hold yourself up to the community at large as a married couple, whether you share expenses, whether you share assets and just what type of lifestyle you have. But none of them themselves are necessarily conclusive. This is an evolving area of law. Many people have come out of the closet in recent years and have talked about long time relationships which no one knew about. This area will continue to grow and typically the rights of common law spouses will be increasingly protected.