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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 07-15-2007, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1
lori is on a distinguished road
Default equal to married status for commonlaw

Living commonlaw can be a financially dangerous place to be. I spent 24 years in a commonlaw relationship and when I sought legal advice when it ended, I was astounded to learn that living commonlaw is not legally the same as married.

Under the Family Law Act of Ontario, when commonlaw relationships end, there is 'no sharing of property.' In other words, any asset in your own name, remains yours. i.e. bank accounts, investments, rrsp's, vehicles, pensions etc. Because there is no requirement to 'equalize assets', as in married ones, living commonlaw can leave one partner financially disadvantaged.

There are many reasons why our society at large has a general perception that living commonlaw is the same as being married. Commonlaw spouses are treated the same for federal income tax purposes, are entitled to receive benefits under company insurance plans, including pension and death benefits; a commonlaw spouse is unquestionably accepted as a beneficiary for wills, life insurance and rrsp's. But when the relationship fails, suddenly you are treated as if you are some illegitimate spouse, not equal to married.

There are four provinces within Canada that consider commonlaw the same as married. (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, NWT and Nunivut. It is difficult to believe in our modern and tolerant society that Ontario has chosen to retain such an antiquated law. Living commonlaw is on the rise (increasing 20% in the last 6 years)

This law discriminates against the receipt of benefits based on marital status. I am interested in heading up a group of people who want to change this law. The Attorney General's Office in Ontario states that they require more consultation and study before they would make a change to reflect 'equal to married status' for commonlaw relationships.

If they need more consultation and study, everyone who is affected by this law should write the Attorney General and Premier of their province and their local MPP. I have enclosed the addresses for the Attorney General and the Premier of Ontario.

Ministry of the Attorney General
720 Bay Street, 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 2K1

The Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queens Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

My name is
Lori Clarke
1286 Alloway Cres.
Ottawa, Ont
K1K 3Z1
613-740-0944

p.s. there will be an election in Ontario this fall. Perhaps we will be successful in making this an election issue and initiate the changing of this discriminating and unfair law.
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:21 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 322
today is on a distinguished road
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Lori,

Although I agree with you to certain extent, if one expects the same rights as a married couple why would one not get married?

If one were to expect the rights as a married couple should they not be married. Although I really do see your point once Revenue Canada recognizes us as in a union why not family law court.

Please on't be offended I my self lived 14 years common law prior to my so divorce/seperation.

My point is if you want to be recognized as married then get married. Once you have children of the "union" you are almost recognized as married except perhaps RRSP'S and pensions, but you can usually battle for this, ever heard of unjust enrichment........very widely used in common law.
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