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Couples who aren’t spouses: Your income, support, and property rights

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Not all couples who live together meet the definition of spouse under BC’s family law. Those who aren’t considered spouses have some rights but not others. Learn what happens if you’re in an unmarried relationship that ends.

“My partner and I lived together for 17 months before we ended our relationship. We had bought a place together. It was only in my partner’s name, as was the mortgage. I thought I was automatically going to get half the property. But because we lived together for less than two years, that’s not the case. I have a harder path to asking a court for a share of the property.”

– Serena, Kimberley, BC

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What you should know

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Who can help

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2020
  • Time to read: 8 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Shelagh Kinney, Watson Goepel

Shelagh Kinney, Watson Goepel

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This information from People’s Law School explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. The information is not intended as legal advice. See our disclaimer.

On Dial-A-Law

Dial-A-Law has more information on Family relationships in the section on Families + Children.