If you are moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend (spouse or partner), congratulations! This is a big step in your relationship, but there are some legal issues to think about.
In Saskatchewan under the Family Property Act, once you have lived together for 2 years you will be considered to be in a common law relationship and deemed to be spouses. You do not have to be married to be deemed spouses. Calling your boyfriend or girlfriend your “roommate” and even having them pay rent, does not get around being in a common law relationship. The basic test is to ask if you consider each other boyfriend and girlfriend and if others see you in a relationship. There are also other factors that go into determining whether you are in a common law relationship.
Once you become spouses, there are some property considerations to think about. It may not be as easy as giving your spouse their box of stuff when the relationship is over. Under the Family Property Act, the starting point is that your spouse will be entitled to 50% of the family property. Also, if you own the home that you both live in, your spouse is entitled to 50% of the equity of the home.
What can you do to protect yourself? Talk with your partner! Discuss what your expectations are for the future. You can also contact a lawyer to have a Cohabitation Agreement prepared setting out how you want your property to be dealt with if you separate.
Cohabitation Agreements do not need to be seen in a negative light! It involves you meeting with your partner to discuss what you want for the future. Once it is in an Agreement, then the chance for disagreement and conflict in a possible future separation can be minimized!
The lawyers here at HART Legal have the experience to help partners come to an Agreement and catch those small details that may be overlooked. If you want more information on how to proceed with a Cohabitation Agreement, feel free to contact us to setup a free consultation in our Regina, Saskatchewan office.