Manitoba Common Law Property Rights
In Manitoba, since 2004, the rights of most unmarried couples and married couples are the same after a certain length of time.
Under the Manitoba Common-Law Partners’ Property Act, once you have lived together for 3 years in a conjugal relationship, or one year if you have a child together, the rules for the division of property for married couples will apply.
Basically, this means that all property (with certain exceptions such as inheritances that are kept separate) acquired during the time a couple lived together is shared equally.
Similarly, after living together for the same time periods, the rules for inheritances will be the same for common law couples and married couples.
Basically, this means that if your common law partner doesn’t have a will, or has a will that leaves you with little or nothing, you will still get a share of your partner’s property in Manitoba.
Common law partners can register their relationship at the Manitoba Vital Statistics Registry. If this is done, then the rules for property division and inheritances for married people immediately apply to the couple – you don’t need to wait the three years.
There are new rules for ending your relationship. If you’ve registered your common law relationship, then to end it you must register a dissolution, which can only be done after one year of separation.
If you haven’t registered your common law relationship, your relationship is considered ended when you’ve lived apart for 3 years.
You can still opt out of this regime by entering into a cohabitation agreement.
If you haven’t lived together for 3 years or have a child together and haven’t lived together for 1 year, the normal rules for property division and the normal rules for inheritances apply in Manitoba.