Property Division in Common-Law Relationships

Over the years, more and more unmarried couples in Calgary, Alberta, are moving in and sharing their lives together. Much confusion still exists regarding common-law rights and obligations. At Soby Boyden Lenz, we can provide clarity and pursue your interests if the relationship ends — especially in the key area of property division.

No Automatic Right to Equality

Unlike in divorce, cohabiting couples who separate are not automatically entitled to half of each other's assets. In common-law relationships, there are many factors to consider when determining how to divide property.

The best preventative measure for protecting financial interests in a common-law partnership is a well-drafted family law agreement. Such legal contracts allow both sides to make advance arrangements about how they will divide property and handle financial support during a relationship breakdown. You can enter into a cohabitation agreement at any point before or during the relationship.

In Alberta, cohabiting couples must meet certain requirements to be considered an adult interdependent partnership. Our lawyers can help you determine if you qualify. If you are in a common-law partnership or plan to enter into one, we can help you draft an agreement. If you are already planning to separate, we can provide advice through the process.

Claims of Unjust Enrichment

Even if you did not set out advance plans in a legally enforceable cohabitation agreement, you may still be in a position to seek an equitable share of property acquired during the relationship. This can happen in cases where one party contributed to the increase in value of property, such as performing renovations to a home or conducting unpaid work for a spouse's business.

If you are seeking a share of property or your ex-partner is claiming such from you, our lawyers can help. We will assess the facts, figures and applicable laws and prepare a case to defend your interests.

Call Us for a Consultation

Our lawyers are ready to discuss your case. To book an initial consultation, call us at 403-770-9336 or send us an email message.