Breaking up with someone you have lived with for years can be incredibly painful and complicated. In many ways, ending a common-law relationship is quite similar to ending a marriage, but there are some ways in which this differs.
If you are ending a common-law relationship, you should be aware of some common mistakes people make in this situation and what you can do to avoid them.
Mistake: Giving up rights you didn’t know you have
Common law partners may wind up giving up critical rights and resources because they do not realize they exist in the first place.
Therefore, it is crucial that you do not give up something you do not have to. In Ontario, for instance, you may have the right to request spousal support if you and your partner have a child or were in a relationship lasting over three years. If you do not know you have these rights, you could wind up with fewer resources than you deserve after your split.
Mistake: Relocating with your child without permission
Separating when you share a child can be just as painful as divorcing when you share a child. And you could wind up making matters worse if you do something that causes other conflicts, like moving away with your child because you don’t realize your ex has parental rights.
However, common-law spouses and married spouses have the same responsibilities and rights when it comes to parenting. Relocating without permission can interfere with your ex’s parental rights and lead to serious legal conflicts.
Mistake: Failing to have a separation agreement
If you cohabitate or are in a common-law relationship, one of the costliest mistakes you can make is not having a legal agreement to define your rights to things like property. Too often, people fail to do this because they are not legally married, so they do not think they need a legal agreement.
However, by creating a cohabitation or separation agreement, you can resolve many complicated matters before they arise.
Common law relationships can be as nuanced and complicated as any other type of relationship. However, unique circumstances, like varying provincial laws, can add further complexity. Avoiding these mistakes is a good place to start, but it can also be wise to consult a lawyer if you are ending your relationship.