This site of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is provided by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta. The law with regard to common law relationships in Alberta was changed in June 2003 with the introduction of the concept of ‘adult interdependent relationships’. This resource answers questions about how such a relationship is defined and the nature of adult interdependent partner agreements.
- You are here: Home > Common law relationships
You are here
Common law relationships
Two people living together in a marriage-like relationship without being legally married to each other may be referred to as living 'common law'. The legal rights and responsibilities in these relationships vary depending on the jurisdiction (location) and on the area of law under consideration. NOTE: The term living ‘common-law’ is no longer used in Alberta laws. The law with regard to common law relationships in Alberta was changed in June 2003 with the introduction of the concept of ‘adult interdependent relationships’. This law is set out in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act.
LawNow is a bi-monthly digital public legal education magazine which has been published by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta for almost 40 years. Its articles and columns are written in plain language and take a practical look at how the law relates to the every day lives of Canadians.In each issue, LawNow’s family law column takes a look at a specific topic in this area of law and explains it clearly and concisely.
The Family Law Project provides basic legal information on the following topics:
- Parenting TIme
- Child and Spousal Support (also referred to as "maintenance")
- Matrimonial property
- Adult interdependent partnerships (often referred to as "common-law relationships")
- Where to go if you need more in-depth information or help
In addition, the Family Law Project assists people in obtaining uncomplicated child support orders and variations, as well as related applications. A volunteer from the Family Law Project may be able to assist you in court if you meet our eligibility criteria. Please call to determine whether we can help you with your issue. The Family Law Project also provides a monthly Do-Your-Own-Divorce Clinic. Please call to obtain more information and to determine whether we can help you with your divorce.
The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act was passed during the fall 2002 sitting of the provincial Legislature and became law on June 1, 2003. This act amended several Alberta laws for people in unmarried relationships involving economic and emotional interdependency. These laws set out the financial and property benefits and responsibilities attached to these relationships. The act covers a range of personal relationships that fall outside of marriage, including committed platonic relationships where two people agree to share emotional and economic responsibilities. Includes a sample Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement (PDF - 4 pages, 2003)
This resource is from the Student Legal Services and includes information about; Your Legal Name; Changing Your Own Name (including getting married or Adult Interdependent Relationship); Naming Your Child; and Changing Your Child's Name and Referral Numbers (related to changing your name). This resource is also available to downloaded as a PDF.
CLERC offers legal advice, information, referrals and services to children and youth.The Legal Topics section of their website offers answers to some common questions asked by youth regarding their legal rights. Lawyers at CLERC provide representation to young people 19 years of age and under who have nowhere else to turn for legal support.
This information on adult interdependent relationships is provided by Calgary Legal Guidance. This topic page discusses common-law relationships now called Adult Interdependent Relationships as set out in Alberta's Adult Interdependent Relationships Act
This online resource from the Student Legal Services of Edmonton includes information about common law relationships and the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, property rights, other benefits and statutes (Alberta) and Federal Acts. This resource is also available to download as a PDF.
This online resource is from the Student Legal Services of Edmonton. This information is for non-married parents, Adult Interdependent Partners and married parents not seeking a divorce. Topics include: Who Is A Parent?; Who Is A Guardian?; Parenting Orders; Parenting Time; The “Best Interests” Of The Child; Contact Orders; Court Orders; Frequently Asked Questions. This resource is also available for download as a PDF.