Bennet Waugh Corne Lawyers - Lawyer - Family Law - Real Estate Law - Law Firm - Winnipeg - Manitoba

Friday, February 22, 2013

Common-Law Couples and Family Law Issues

On June 30, 2004, The Common-Law Partners’ Property and Related Amendments Act was passed in Manitoba which greatly impacted those in common-law relationships.  Prior to June 30, 2004, if a common-law couple separated, each person kept the property that was in his/her name.  Also, if one member of the couple died without a will, there was no law entitling the surviving partner to a portion of the deceased’s estate.  With the passing of The Common-Law Partners’ Property and Related Amendments Act, the following rights now apply to common-law partners, to name a few:

  1. If a common-law couple separates, each partner will be entitled to one-half the value of the property acquired by the couple during the time they lived together under The Family Property Act. This includes pensions (both employment and C.P.P.)- see The Pension Benefits Act.
  2. The Family Property Act also provides that if one member of a common-law couple dies leaving a will that either neglects or ignores the other partner, the law will override the will to ensure that the surviving partner receives his/her fair share of the couple’s family property.
  3. If a common-law couple separates, either party is now entitled to make a claim against the other for maintenance (spousal support) under The Family Maintenance Act.
  4. If one member of a common-law couple dies without a will, under The Intestate Succession Act, the surviving partner will receive all, or most, of the deceased partner’s property.  
  5. The Dependants Relief Act protects family members, which includes common-law partners, of a deceased person so long as those family members were substantially dependent on the deceased for financial support.  The court can be asked to make a maintenance order if the will does not provide enough support for the common-law partner or in cases where there is no will. 
  6. The Homesteads Act gives the surviving common-law partner who has homestead rights, the right to live in the family home for the rest of his or her life, even if the property was owned only by the deceased partner.

To qualify as a common-law couple, the couple can register their relationship with a The Vital Statistics Agency.  The legislation will also automatically apply to common-law couples who have lived together in a conjugal relationship for the time required by the legislation (either three years, or one year as long as they have a child together, depending on the legislation).  Those involved in a common-law relationship should speak with a lawyer to determine which legislation applies to them and to determine their rights and obligations.

If those presently in a common-law relationship do not want any or all of the property sharing laws or maintenance laws to apply to them, they can opt out of the legislation by signing a written agreement.  Those wanting such an agreement should consult a lawyer to assist them in the preparation and execution the document.

Bennet Waugh Corne

Posted by Alison Bennet at 11:47 AM 6 Comments

Friday, February 22, 2013

Do You Know Enough About Child Support?

By Nadia Rumore

An obligation to pay child support automatically arises once parents are residing in different homes. The monies paid by one parent to the other is intended to assist with the child(ren)'s care and maintenance. Child support is not a right of the parent, but is instead a right of the child.

The Child Support Guidelines under both the Divorce Act and The Family Maintenance Act govern the amount of child support that is payable. The base amount of child support is usually determined by the gross income of the payor when a child lives with one parent primarily, but different time-sharing regimes can suggest a different formula for calculating support.

The Guidelines also allow for the sharing of some additional expenses over and above the base amount to be paid. Some of these additional expenses include costs related to childcare, medical check-ups and procedures, and extracurricular activities of the child.

Child support does not necessarily end at the age of 18 for the child. Support may continue in several circumstances, the most common of which relates to the child attending post-secondary education. The entitlement and amount of child support to be paid after the age of 18 rests on many factors.

The law on child support is continuously evolving, and it is important for people to understand their rights and/or obligations in respect of this area of law.

Posted by Alison Bennet at 11:46 AM 0 Comments


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