The Toronto Star reports that the Supreme Court of Canada will soon consider the right of common-law spouses to receive alimony and half of property after the relationship has ended. Currently, there is no such right for common-law spouses.
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), an organization acting as an intervenor in this case, raises the point that equal division of property and support payments may be extremely important where the caregiver of children – most likely a woman – has dedicated most of her time and energy to children, thus becoming dependent and financially disadvantaged.
According to The Star, “the court said excluding common-law couples was a way of respecting their decision to avoid marriage because of the legal obligations that go along with it.”
However, “in fact, North American research over the past decade has shown that most couples who live together are under the mistaken impression they already have the same rights as married couples.” Further, most couples do not think ahead to the consequences of a break-up when they make living arrangements.
This case will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada on January 19th 2012.