New Family Law Act will affect some common-law couples

New Family Law Act will affect some common-law couples

To the editor;

I thought some of your readers might find the following interesting. It is an excerpt from the Elan Blog, Legal Services Society of BC.

This particular portion of the entry describes how the new act will affect current common-law couples who separate before the act comes into effect. There is a time limit which the public should be aware of.

“Under the  new Family Law Act, spouses may share property and debts. A spouse is someone who is married to another person, or who has lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and includes former spouses (married spouses who have divorced and unmarried spouses who have separated). Under the new act, unmarried spouses will have the same property rights as married spouses. Under the current Family Relations Act, unmarried spouses don’t have property rights.”

There’s a time limit, however, to make a claim. Separated, unmarried spouses can make a claim for property and debt division as long as they apply within two years of the date they separated.

In summary, when the new Family Law Act comes into effect, unmarried spouses, even those who have spearated in the two years before the law comes into effect, can file a claim for poperty and debt division.

New laws aren’t usually retroactive (don’t usually take effect from a date in the past) unless they specifically say so. This principle is important as some parts of the new Family Law Act will affect common-law couples who separate before the act comes into force.”

Grace Baker

Chartered Mediator

Barriere