Is there a difference between the rights of married spouses and spouses who live common-law?
Custody, child support and access to the children all are treated identical as to couples that were married, but the division of property and spousal support will be different.
Common-law spouses do not have the same property rights as married spouses, who are presumed to share the proceeds of all of the assets accumulated over the course of a marriage. In general, common-law spouses do not share property unless there is joint ownership or one spouse has made a substantial contribution in the form of either effort or money, to an asset owned by the other spouse.
How do we divide our property?
If you have been cohabitating for a significant amount of time, identifying which item belongs to who can be difficult or impossible; generally:
- Items purchased during the relationship belong to the person who paid for them
- Items purchased jointly will usually be divided