What Is the Difference Between an Adult Interdependent Relationship and a Marriage in Edmonton?
Alberta couples in long-term committed relationships may choose to get married, or may choose to continue living together in an adult interdependent relationship. Both forms of relationship are legally recognized as legitimate forms of domestic and economic interdependence. Both forms of relationship provide the parties involved with a set of similar rights and obligations.
However, there are key differences between an adult interdependent relationship and a marriage in Edmonton. For specific insights, and to discuss the particulars of your circumstances, contact our team of Edmonton family lawyers today and schedule your initial consultation.
What is an Adult Interdependent Relationship in Alberta?
An adult interdependent relationship is sometimes colloquially referred to as a common law relationship. In legal terms, two people can be in an adult interdependent relationship in Edmonton in the following three situations:
- If they have lived together in a relationship of interdependence for a minimum of three years.
- If they live together in a relationship of interdependence and have a child together, either by birth or adoption.
- If they have signed an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement.
Within the context of Alberta’s Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, a “relationship of interdependence” is one where two people share one another’s lives, function as an economic and domestic unit, and are emotionally committed to one another. This relationship may be conjugal (sexual) in nature, or it may be platonic (as between friends).
Many of the rights that adult interdependent partners have in Alberta are similar to, or indeed the same, as the rights of married couples. Should an adult interdependent relationship end, the parties may have the right to divide property, access spousal support, and more.
However, there are some key differences between an adult interdependent relationship and a marriage, which you may wish to consider when deciding how to formally structure your relationship. Our team of Edmonton family lawyers at Verhaeghe Law would be happy to discuss your particular circumstances, and provide tailored insights.
Key Differences Between Adult Interdependent Relationship and Marriage
In many ways, an adult interdependent relationship is very similar to a marriage. The couple is seen as living interdependently as a domestic and financial unit. If a person dies without a will, the Wills and Succession Act provides the surviving partner access to their property, whether they were married or in an adult interdependent relationship.
However, there are key differences in the way both relationships are navigated in terms of the law.
In Alberta, you cannot be married to two people at the same time. If you wish to remarry, you have to first divorce your previous spouse. If you are separated from but still legally married to your ex, and wish to enter into an adult interdependent relationship with a new partner, you may legally do so. However, you cannot sign an adult interdependent agreement with your new partner unless you are divorced.
If one of the spouses dies, the surviving spouse has certain rights to the matrimonial home. A surviving spouse who was married to the deceased is protected by the Dower Act, which gives them the right to live in the matrimonial home, ensuring that the home is not to be mortgaged, sold, or transferred without the surviving spouse’s approval.
If a surviving spouse has been in an adult interdependent relationship with the deceased but is not on title for the matrimonial home, they may be entitled to possession of said home for 90 days.
Separation in Adult Interdependent Relationships vs Divorce
When an adult interdependent relationship ends, you do not need to file for divorce. You may wish to make a written agreement stating that the relationship is over, but this does not need to be filed anywhere. It may be useful in the future, should a legal dispute for property, spousal support, or another matter arise between you and your former partner.
Simply put, an adult interdependent relationship is over when one or both partners intend it to be over, and when you and your former partner live separate and apart for at least one year. There are particular circumstances that may hasten the end of an adult interdependent relationship. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers for insights into what may be relevant in your case.
Alberta’s Family Property Act provides for adult interdependent partners to divide property in the same way as separating married couples. You each retain the property you purchased on your own, and property you purchased together is divided. The division may not necessarily be split 50-50.
If you and your former spouse share children, they are provided for under the Family Law Act regardless of the parents’ spousal relationship. Likewise, if you have been in an adult interdependent relationship, you may be entitled to access spousal support from your former partner. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers to discuss the possibilities in your case.
Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today For a Consultation
Formalizing a romantic partnership can be a beautiful rite of passage. The recognition of an adult couple as a domestic and financial unit is likewise important in broader society, offering the partners certain rights to one another’s property. Whether the relationship is formalized as in a marriage or an adult interdependent relationship is up to the couple in question, but there are differences that may be important to consider.
Each relationship is different, and the form of spousal arrangement you wish to have may reflect that. Our team at Verhaeghe Law would be happy to discuss your particular circumstances, and see how we may be of support to you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our Edmonton family lawyers.
** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of family law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta family lawyer.