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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 12-07-2010, 04:55 AM
gailpog gailpog is offline
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I live in Nova Scotia Canada. I had lived with a man from Nov 1999 until Nov 2009. When we split we were still friends. He passed away in June. His ex-wife stated she would get the survivor benefit at the funeral. I was stunned as I had been the person he lived with for the last 10 years. I called Service Canada, explained about the our living arrangement and the person I spoke to told me to make an application for the survivor benefit as rightfully it belonged to me.
I made application 20 sept. After waiting 7 weeks I called and asked about the application. I was told that I was sent some paperwork as they required more information of the commonlaw relationship. I asked them to resend as I hadn't recieved it. The new paperwork I to resend back was a statutory declaration of common law union. I filled out this paperwork and resent to Service Canada on Tuesday. Less than a week later I get a letter back from service canada stating I do not quailfy for this benefit. Reason that I was not in a common law with the deceased at the time of his death.
My question: If we had been legally married I would have been entitled to this benefit. Neither one of us entered into any relationship after we split. If we had married we would not have been divorced at the time of his death. We still own property together. I thought common law would be treated as equally as a married spouse? Would it be to my benefit to persue this with an attorney? Thanks for any help
Old 12-07-2010, 05:05 AM
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dadtotheend dadtotheend is offline
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See elibility requirements at #3 here Survivor Benefits.

It seems that a separated but not yet divorced legally married spouse would have entitlement, but not a former common law spouse.

Did he die with a valid will? Who is the executor? That person can apply for the death benefit, as it will be payable to his estate. If he didn't die with a will, then here in Ontario one has to obtain a Certificate of Appointment in court to act as an executor. That will usually be issued to next of kin before a former common law spouse.

The benefit is only $2,500. You will chew that up in no time with a lawyer. Not worth it in my view.
Old 12-07-2010, 05:19 AM
gailpog gailpog is offline
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this is not the death benefit. It is the survivor benefit. Thanks for your reply.
"The Canada Pension Plan survivor's pension is paid to the person who, at the time of death, is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor (see definition of "spouse" and "common-law partner"). If you are a separated legal spouse and there is no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit."
Again, if I had been married, I would not have been divorced as we still have property together.
Old 12-07-2010, 11:50 AM
KeepSmiling KeepSmiling is offline
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But you weren't married.
Old 12-07-2010, 12:56 PM
representingself representingself is offline
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I agree with the OP's....

You were never legally married, and you ended the common-law relationship 7 months before he died.

I don't think you meet the eligibility criteria, and you would be wasting your time, (and money), trying to fight the Government in court.

IF you had been married, and going through divorce, the outcome may have been different... but you weren't and it isn't.
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