What are the main similarities between marriage and common law relationships in Canada?
1. Child Support. Child support is the right of the child, not the parent (even though the parent receives the money).
So, it does not make a difference whether you are married or in a common law relationship, your child support rights and obligations on separation in Canada are the same.
2. Child Custody. Child custody is determined according to what is in the child’s best interests. So again, it does not make a difference whether you are married or in a common law relationship, child custody is determined the same way upon separation in Canada.
3. Dependants Relief. If you rely on your partner for financial support, when your partner passes away, in Ontario you are entitled to support from your partner, regardless of whether you were married or not.
4. Surnames. You can change your last name (surname or family name) to your partner’s surname or a hyphenated family name, whether you’re in a marriage or a common law relationship.
As well, your child’s last name can be that of either parent or a hyphenated surname, whether you’re in a marriage or a common law partnership. (All children born of a relationship must have the same surname).
5. Adoption. The rights of a common law couple (same sex or heterosexual) to adopt a child are the same as that of a married couple.
Click here to find out the main differences between being married and being in a common law relationship.