Children’s Issues

“Are children of an unmarried couple illegitimate?”

Not in Ontario or most other provinces. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland still have a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children.

Children in common law separations in Canada

Upon separation in Canada, there are two main issues regarding children: custody and access on the one hand, and child support on the other hand.
The law regarding children when common law couples separate is the same as for when a married couple separates.
This is because the law is looking out for the children’s best interests, and whether you’re part of a married or unmarried couple is irrelevant for that.


Custody means the right to make the important decisions in a child’s life – decisions such as where the child goes to school, what church the child goes to, and medical decisions.

There are four types of custody: sole, joint, shared and split.
Sole custody means that only one parent has custody.
Joint custody means that both parents have custody.
Shared custody means that both parents have custody, and that the children spend approximately the same amount of time with each parent.
Split custody means that one parent has sole custody of some of the children, and the other parent has sole custody of the rest of the children.
Custody decisions in a common law separation Canada are made the same way that they are made for married couples: by deciding what is in the children’s best interests.


Child support is money that is payable by the non-residential parent to the residential parent.
The amount of child support payable is determined by a table, based on the payor’s income, the number of children, and the province of residence.
On top of the table amount of child support, there is child support that is payable for extras, such as orthodontic expenses, university and extra-curricular activities.

Child support is normally payable until your children complete their first post-secondary degree.
If you are paying child support due to a common law separation Canada, you normally must have life insurance as well, to cover the possibility that you may pass away while you are still required to pay child support.

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