Common Law Separation Rights in Ontario

Oct 5, 2023


Welcome to Borden Family Law, your trusted source for expert legal services in Ontario. As leading lawyers specializing in family law, we understand the complexities surrounding common law relationships and separation. In this comprehensive article, we will provide you with detailed information about common law separation rights in Ontario, helping you navigate this potentially challenging time with confidence.

Understanding Common Law Relationships

Before delving into common law separation rights, let's start by clarifying what a common law relationship entails. In Ontario, the law recognizes a common law relationship as one where two individuals have lived together in a marriage-like union for a continuous period of at least three years or less if they have a child together. While not legally married, common law couples enjoy certain rights and responsibilities. It's important to be aware of these rights, particularly when it comes to separation.

Legal Rights for Common Law Couples

In Ontario, common law couples have rights and obligations similar to those of married couples. It is crucial to understand and protect these rights in the event of a separation. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Property Rights

When common law couples separate, the division of property can become a complex matter. While common law partners do not automatically have the same property rights as married couples, some provisions under the Family Law Act come into play to protect each partner's financial interests. It is advisable to consult with an experienced family lawyer, like us at Borden Family Law, to ensure a fair division of property.

Child Custody and Support

If you have children in a common law relationship and decide to separate, child custody and support become vital considerations. In Ontario, both biological and adoptive parents have rights and responsibilities towards their children, irrespective of marital status. It is essential to prioritize the best interests of the child and come to an agreement or seek legal assistance to establish custody and support arrangements.

Spousal Support

Similar to married couples, common law partners may be entitled to spousal support depending on various factors, such as the length of the relationship, financial dependence, and the roles each partner played during the relationship. Our team of experienced lawyers can help you understand your rights and obligations in regards to spousal support, ensuring a fair resolution.

Navigating the Separation Process

Now that you have a basic understanding of common law separation rights in Ontario, it is essential to approach the separation process with clarity and caution. Here are some helpful steps to consider:

Consulting a Family Lawyer

Engaging an experienced family lawyer, like those at Borden Family Law, is crucial when dealing with common law separation. Our knowledgeable legal professionals can guide you through complex legal procedures, protect your rights, and advocate for your best interests during negotiations, mediation, or courtroom proceedings.

Gather and Organize Documentation

To ensure a smoother separation process, gather and organize important financial and legal documents related to your common law relationship. This includes evidence of joint assets, debts, and any agreements or contracts you made during the relationship. Having these documents readily available will help your lawyer assess your situation and make informed decisions.

Open Communication and Mediation

Open and respectful communication is vital when navigating a common law separation. Consider engaging in mediation, a voluntary process where both partners work with a neutral mediator to find mutually agreeable solutions. Mediation can be an effective way to save time, money, and reduce potential conflicts during the separation process.

Understanding the Tax Implications

Separation can have financial implications, including changes in taxes. Familiarize yourself with tax consequences related to support payments, spousal benefits, and the division of property. Seeking advice from a professional tax consultant or accountant can help you navigate through these matters more efficiently.


Borden Family Law is committed to providing exceptional legal services for common law couples. By understanding your common law separation rights in Ontario, you can approach the process with confidence and make informed decisions. Remember, each situation is unique, and consulting a knowledgeable family lawyer is crucial to ensure your rights and interests are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us guide you through this challenging time.

common law separation rights ontario
Landon Springer
Great article! It's important to know our rights and responsibilities in common law relationships. The information provided here will be really useful for anyone going through a separation. Thanks for breaking down the complexities and making it easier to understand. Definitely bookmarking this page for future reference!
Nov 9, 2023
Yuwei Di
Informative and helpful! 👍
Oct 30, 2023
Vince Cichocki
This article was just what I needed! 🙌 I feel well-informed about common law separation now. 😊
Oct 25, 2023
Dai Cui
I found this article very helpful in understanding common law separation rights! Thanks for the info.
Oct 20, 2023
Asheesh Mangla
Great information! Thanks for sharing.
Oct 15, 2023
Brad Konen
Very informative article! 👍 It's essential to know your rights regarding common law separation in Ontario.
Oct 6, 2023