What is a spouse?
You are a spouse under the Family Law Act if:
- You are or were married
- You have lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship, sometimes called common-law, for a certain period of time
If you are common-law, you must have lived together for a minimum period of time to qualify as a spouse.
In order to be considered a spouse for the purposes of dividing property or debt you must have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years.
But if you are applying for spousal support, you are considered a spouse if you have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years and have a child together.
Under the law, the start date of a spousal relationship is the day two individuals begin living together in a marriage-like relationship, or the day they were married, whichever is first. The start date of a spousal relationship determines when rights or responsibilities start under the Family Law Act, particularly respecting property division.