Common Law Separation

Mississauga Common-Law Separation Lawyers

Serving Individuals in Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & The GTA

Common-law relationships have been on the rise in Canada. These involve two individuals living together as if they were legally married when they are not. These individuals are generally committed to one another as intimate partners and may involve shared children. When the relationship of common-law partners breaks down leading to a separation, many of the same issues that married partners face will arise, such as child custody and support, shared property, and spousal support.

If your common law relationship is ending, it is vital that you understand your rights and obligations pertinent to your separation. While many people in this situation believe they have the same rights as married partners who divorce, this is not true. The laws and even the definition of what constitutes a common-law marriage vary in Canada depending on what province or territory you live in. At Rose Family Law, we can provide the guidance you need when facing a common-law separation. Our experienced team can help you negotiate and draft a separation agreement to resolve any issues relevant to the separation or represent you in any necessary court proceedings.

Contact Rose Family Law online or at (905) 367-0134 to schedule a consultation with one of our Mississauga common-law separation lawyers.

What is Common-Law Separation in Canada?

In Ontario, a common-law marriage is defined as continuous cohabitation of the two parties for a minimum of three years in a conjugal relationship. If you and your common-law spouse have a child together, whether by birth or through adoption, you only need to have been living together for one year to meet the legal criteria.

How is a Conjugal Relationship Defined?

A conjugal relationship means that, similar to married partners, you and your partner share a home, possibly a family, share your finances, social life, have mutual interests, and have an emotional as well as a sexual relationship.

Common-Law Separation Issues


Division of property in a common-law marriage differs from that of legally married partners. In a common-law separation, spouses are entitled to keep their own belongings and are obligated to pay off their own debts. Where you and your partner own an asset jointly, that asset is divided equally, either through the proceeds of its sale or by one person buying out the other.

Other property division options may be available, such as trust claims made against the interest in property owned by the other party or claims of “unjust enrichment” on the part of a spouse made to the courts. These claims can be complicated and call for the services of a lawyer knowledgeable in such matters and their proceedings.


The rights and responsibilities of parents in regard to their children in a common-law separation follow the same laws as those pertaining to married couples who separate or divorce. The laws applicable to child custody, access, and support remain the same regardless of the parents legal or common-law status or residential location.


If your common-law relationship meets the criteria for Ontario as mentioned above, you have the right to seek spousal support. The success of such a claim will be based on various factors reviewed by the court, such as how long you and your partner lived together, the income or financial resources differential between you and your partner, whether children are involved, and more. It is highly-recommended that you seek the professional help of a family lawyer to help you advance your claim.

Turn to the Reliable Professionals at Rose Family Law

As you can see, the issues involved in a common-law separation can be complicated, especially in regard to the division of property. It is essential to understand your rights and options in these situations. Our Mississauga common-law separation lawyers can answer your questions and provide you with the guidance and assistance needed in the crucial issues related to this matter.

Request a consultation with one of our Mississauga common-law separation lawyers via email or by calling (905) 367-0134 today.

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