The new British Columbia Family Law Act came into effect in March 2013. The Family Law Act now provides common-law partners and spouses with most of the same legal rights to children, support and property, as married couples have. The Act also applies to same-sex couples.
A common-law relationship exists when cohabiting individuals reside in a marriage-like relationship. Marriage-like relationships may involve very little or no intimacy, or include partners living apart for significant amounts of time.
For common-law spouses, a limitation period applies. To utilize the services of the Family Law Act, common-law spouses must start their legal claims in a Court within two years of their separation. A critical legal issue is identifying when a relationship has ended or whether a relationship was marriage-like or not.