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Before making important decisions regarding family law, you should consult with a member of our legal team in order to understand your legal rights and obligations.

Cohabitation/Common Law Relationships & Division of Property

The division of property for married couples (both opposite sex and same sex) is governed by the Family Law Act in a process called the equalization of net family property. This process, however, does not apply to non-married couples who are cohabiting (also known as living in a common law relationship). People living in these types of relationships are not legally required to divide their property and are not entitled to any equalization of their net family property. In these situations, property is usually determined in accordance with title or ownership, meaning that property belongs to the party that purchased it. This applies to all property and can even include the home where the parties reside. That being said, there are exceptions to this, known as equitable trust remedies. These remedies are complex and will only apply in rare and very specific circumstances.  If you are unmarried and are considering a trust claim, these issues should be canvassed with an experienced family law lawyer.