World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Common-law relationships in Manitoba

Article Id: WHEBN0012426791
Reproduction Date:

Title: Common-law relationships in Manitoba  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Civil union, Civil Partnership Act 2004, Same-sex marriage in Manitoba, Same-sex union legislation
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Common-law relationships in Manitoba

Common-law relationships in Manitoba are government-sanctioned relationships available to both same-sex and different-sex unmarried couples in the Canadian province of Manitoba. While not as extensive as the rights and benefits of marriage, these relationships provide some important benefits to unmarried couples. Registration is voluntary; many of the laws apply automatically to any couple in the province after living together for several years.

Legislative history

In 2001, Manitoba enacted legislation extending the coverage of existing laws to same-sex couples, including changes to the following acts:[1]

  • Family Maintenance Act (non-divorce support)
  • Dependants Relief Act (support from estates)
  • Civil Service Superannuation Act (civil servant pensions)
  • Legislative Assembly Act (pensions for MLAs--members of the Legislative Assembly)
  • Pension Benefits Act (provincially regulated pensions)
  • Teachers’ Pension Act (teachers’ pensions)
  • Fatal Accidents Act (death benefits)
  • Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation Act (death benefits)
  • Workers Compensation Act (death benefits)
  • Queen’s Bench Act (the court that hears support applications)

In 2002, amendments were made to 56 Manitoba laws by the Charter Compliance Act (covering such things as adoption rights and conflict of interests requirements).[1]

On June 30, 2004, the Common-Law Partners’ Property and Related Amendments Act came into effect, changing the name of the Marital Property Act to the Family Property Act. The new act extended this and many other property laws to all common-law partners, whether same-sex or different-sex, who have either registered their relationship with the Vital Statistics Agency or who have lived together for a specified period of time, usually three years.[1]

Rights and benefits

According to Manitoba Justice, "Common-law partners who have registered their common-law relationship with the Vital Statistics Agency, or lived together for at least one year and have a child together, or lived together for at least three years if there are no children of the relationship have all the same rights under the Family Maintenance Act as legally married spouses, including the right to seek spousal support."[1] Federal Criminal Code law against polygamy prohibits family court recognition of any form of marriage being a "subsequent and simultaneous" conjugal union, whilst either common law partner remains married to a legal spouse.

While they are eligibly living together, each partner has significant rights and responsibilities in such areas as child custody, financial support and access to financial information about the partner, use of family assets, consent to sale or rental of the family home, and pension benefits under plans governed by Manitoba law (and in some cases, federal law).[1]

According to the Vital Statistics Agency, "Once a relationship is registered, all the major property laws immediately apply to the couple in the same way they apply to married couples. Registration is voluntary, and couples are not required to register. However, even if a couple does not register, the property laws will apply to them after they have lived together, usually for three years. In some cases, though, it is less than three years; couples with concerns about property or other rights should seek legal advice."[2]

Furthermore, "if a common-law couple separates, each partner is entitled to half the value of the property acquired by the couple during the time they lived together, just like married couples. It also means that if one of the partners dies, the surviving common-law partner has a claim to his or her estate."[2] Cohabitation as a "couple" does not grant either party recognition of family property rights or conjugal union status, whilst one or both cohabitants remain married to other(s). {s.293 Criminal Code of Canada}


Registration is done via filing a form with the Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency. It is unclear whether one or both parties must consent. Both parties must be 18 or older, living in a conjugal relationship in Manitoba, and not married or party to another common-law relationship. Proof of identity is required, as well as proof of the death of a former spouse or common-law partner, or the dissolution of a previous marriage or common-law relationship.[2] Cohabitants who are married to another become eligible to start the Manitoba passage of time only after obtaining a divorce from previous partner(s).


According to the Vital Statistics Agency, "A registered common-law relationship can be terminated only by registering a dissolution, and only once the couple has lived apart for at least one year. If the relationship was never registered, it can be terminated only by living apart for a length of time, in many cases three years. The termination date affects some rights, such as the right to apply to court for a division of property. Either former partner has up to 60 days, after a dissolution is registered, to apply for an accounting and equalization of assets under the Family Property Act."[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Family Law in Manitoba - 2005 Edition, Chapter 3". Manitoba Department of Justice. Spring 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Registering or dissolving a common-law relationship". Vital Statistics Agency, Division of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Manitoba Department of Finance. Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 

External links

  • , Chapter 3, Manitoba Ministry of JusticeFamily Law in Manitoba - 2005 Edition
  • , Manitoba Ministry of JusticeChanges to Property Laws affecting Common-Law Partners
  • , Manitoba Vital Statistics AgencyRegistering or dissolving a common-law relationship
  • , Manitoba Ministry of Justice, 2004Sharing a Life, Sharing Assets: How the new Common-Law Partners' Property and Related Amendments Act will affect your common-law relationship
  • , 21 December 2001, Manitoba Ministry of JusticeFinal Report of the Review Panel on Common-Law Relationships
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.