Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, August 5, 2022

Property Ownership in Common Law Relationships


Because common law couples don’t necessarily share the same rights as married couples, it can lead to complications when it comes to owning property. For tax reasons, the Government of Canada identifies a couple that has been cohabiting for one-year as common law, but as Battista points out, “with common law, it’s actually based on provincial laws based on territorial law.”

In Ontario, for instance, common law couples “don’t have the same rights to a matrimonial home, which is the… primary residence of the couple,” notes Battista. “So if you have a common law couple, and only one of them owns the house, and that person dies, without a will the surviving common law partner could be out of luck.”

Having a will can help protect your estate, ensuring your partner has a stake in your family home regardless of what your marital status is.

Read more here.

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