Considerations for an Adult Interdependent Partnership Agreement in Edmonton
In Alberta, many people are in committed partnerships and relationships outside of marriage. Adult interdependent relationships may occur when two people live together in a relationship of interdependence. In the past few years, the Alberta government has made amendments to their adult interdependent relationships section, specifically pertaining to partnership agreements.
To navigate these changes, it may be useful to seek legal counsel. Lawyers at Verhaeghe Law provide residents of Edmonton, Athabasca, and Whitecourt with legal assistance in many areas including family law. They approach each client with detail-oriented care, adhere to your particular needs, and work to ensure you have the required support to make informed decisions.
To schedule a first consultation, contact us today to learn how our Edmonton family lawyers might be able to help you understand your adult interdependent partnership.
Defining Adult Interdependent Partnerships
As defined under the province's Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, adult interdependent partnerships (AIPs) are made up of two people who are living together in a state of interdependence:
- For at least three continuous years
- In some permanence (for at least three years) if they share a child, or
- Those who have entered an adult interdependent partner agreement
A relationship of interdependence is between two people who are unmarried that still share a life together, are emotionally committed to each other, and operate as a domestic and economic unit.
The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act sets out factors to consider when analyzing the economic and domestic function of two people. These include the exclusivity of their relationship, support and care of children, property ownership, the degree of financial dependence between them, and more.
Types of Adult Interdependent Relationships
Having replaced the term "common-law partnerships" in Alberta legislation, there are now a wide range of committed partnership types that fall under the interdependent relationship umbrella. They may include:
- Two people in a romantic, marriage-like relationship
- Two people in a non-romantic partnership
- Two family members
In 2020, the Alberta government amended the Matrimonial Property Act to include adult interdependent relationships as well as married spouses, renaming it the Family Property Act.
To be considered adult interdependent partners, two people who are related to one another (by blood or adoption) must sign an adult interdependent partner agreement (AIPA).
Entering an AIPA
An adult interdependent partner agreement may be used by two people who are living together or plan to live together in an interdependent relationship. A document that legally recognizes the status of their partnership, the form is provided by the Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement Regulation.
The agreement may entitle parties to benefits and protections, including health insurance coverage and pension benefits. It may also make them eligible for spousal support and/or division of property and assets should the relationship end.
The agreement calls for a specific format that must include certain information, and may need to meet circumstantial requirements at the time of signing in order to be valid. Plus, entering an agreement may affect both parties' obligations and rights.
When considering the specificity of drafting, signing, and adhering to an AIPA, it may be beneficial to get legal assistance. Lawyers may also be able to answer any questions about entering an agreement or review an existing one.
Our family lawyers at Verhaeghe Law may be able to include all necessary provisions so that both parties feel represented and heard. This may include outlining financial arrangements, property rights, and other responsibilities. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the next steps.
Knowing Your Rights as an AIP
Adult interdependent partners are entitled to similar rights and responsibilities as married couples, irrespective of whether they have a formal adult interdependent partnership agreement or whether their relationship is romantic or platonic.
AIPs can expect:
- Eligibility for partner support or an obligation to provide it under Alberta's Family Law Act if the relationship ends.
- The ability to seek support and maintenance from a partner's estate under the Wills and Successions Act, especially if the partner dies without a will or inadequately provides for the other partner in their will.
- Property division as per the guidelines established in the Family Property Act, (if the relationship concludes after January 1, 2020).
- Entitlement to partner benefits under various legislations such as the Workers Compensation Act, the Victims of Crime Act, and the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped Act.
- The option to insure an AIP's life and receive insurance benefits.
Similar to married couples, AIPs can also choose to customize or opt out of the regulations concerning property division or partner support outlined in the Family Property Act and the Family Law Act by creating a cohabitation agreement or separation agreement.
To safeguard property and assets effectively, AIPs may want to consider establishing a cohabitation agreement. A document that gives both parties the chance to outline their responsibilities and roles in the relationship, the agreement may also specify how property will be divided and whether support should be provided if separation occurs.
Terminating an AIPA
Similar to the divorce process for married couples, ending an AIPA may require certain legal procedures, particularly if both partners cannot reach an agreement to the terms. This process might encompass the division of property and assets accrued throughout the partnership.
Every situation is different - some AIPs may have to sign a written agreement stating they plan to live separately without the possibility of reconciliation, while others may have to obtain a declaration of irreconcilability under the Family Law Act. It all depends on the terms of their agreement.
Under an AIPA and in accordance with the Family Property Act, partners must make a claim for property division within two years from the date the applicant knew the relationship had ended. Should conflicts arise concerning the distribution of property, financial assistance, or any other aspects outlined in the AIPA, a lawyer can advocate for a partner's concerns during legal proceedings and assist in managing the process.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today
Adult interdependent partnerships are increasingly common amongst Canadians. In Alberta, the government has amended their legislation to ensure all family structures have similar rights and responsibilities.
Our family lawyers at Verhaeghe Law may be able to assist you with aspects of adult interdependent partnerships and agreements. Samongeeking legal counsel may be useful for not only drafting and terminating AIPAs, but also for amending existing agreements as your personal situation shifts, or for mediating term negotiations and disputes as they arise.
Contact our office to book a first consultation and discuss how we may be able to assist you through the AIPA process.
** 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.