Does the Family Law Act apply to me?

Regardless of whether you lived together or were married, many areas of the family law apply to you, such as parenting apart, support and keeping your family safe.

The property division rules apply to couples who have lived in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years. For spousal support, a couple can be living together for less than two years, if they have a child together.

The time periods are different for the two matters because spousal support and property division have  different purposes. The purpose of spousal support is to help meet the ongoing financial needs of a financially dependent spouse. Having care of a child can create interdependence between the parents even if they have lived together for less than two years. There is not the same link between child care and property division. The purpose of the property division provisions is to divide the capital accumulated between the spouses during their relationship.

Most other areas of the law, including wills and estates and income tax, also treat common-law families the same as married families.

The number of common-law families in British Columbia is growing at a rate three times faster than the number of married couples. Many have children and resemble married families in a number of ways. The family law provides a clear and fair way for these families to resolve their disputes.