On March 18, 2013, the new Family Law Act was fully implemented.
by Wes Stevenson, Senior Family Mediator, Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services
The new law says that once common law couples have lived together for two years in a “marriage-like relationship” they will have an automatic half interest in all property accumulated during the relationship, as well as in the increase in value of all property brought into the relationship. So rather than each taking back what they brought into the relationship, as is the case today, common law couples will have a right to one-half of all family property. As well, common law couples will be responsible for one-half of all the family debts of their partner, including credit card debts, incurred from the time they began living together until the time they separate.
So, the new law in B.C. actually turned thousands of live-in lovers into married couples last March!
But it cuts both ways. While it may be good for common-law couples to receive “married” status, in cases where they’ve married wealthier people, they lose on the other end because the assets their partner brought into the relationship don’t count.
Another significant piece of the new legislation is its support and encouragement for using mediation to resolve differences at the end of a relationship.
From a BC Divorce Mediator’s perspective, if those of you in common law relationships wish to keep property separate, it is a good time to prepare a cohabitation agreement which sets out how property is to be divided in the event that your relationship breaks down. After all, cohabitation is about love, but breaking up is all about money. Protect yourself. Call us at 250.707.0928 if you need more information, or pop by our office at 307 Banks Road, Kelowna, BC, Suite 203.
We are not expensive lawyers; we are family divorce mediators. Our boutique divorce mediation firm has become Kelowna’s first choice when dealing with separation and divorce. It is possible to reduce stress, time and conflict. Our mediation model educates and empowers our clients, so that when you leave you have a document that is guaranteed to stand the test of time.