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Starting Today New BC Law Turns Thousands of Live-in Lovers Into Married Couples


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#1 DonLever

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:47 PM

Across B.C. on Monday morning, thousands of “roommates with benefits” and shacked-up lovers will awake to find that, according to the provincial government, they were now basically married.
Under the province’s Family Law Act, which comes into force on March 18, breakups between any couple that has shared the same roof for more than two years — or has had a child together — will now carry many of the trappings of divorce, including a 50/50 division of assets and debts.
“For young couples who live together for a couple of years and then live with somebody else for a couple of years, it’s going to be interesting to see if they’re going to start making claims,” said Georgialee Lang, a Vancouver family lawyer and arbitrator.
Nevertheless, the new act also comes with dramatic new provisions shielding pre-marriage assets from spousal claim in the event of a breakup.
“It cuts both ways; it’s good for common-law spouses to receive the status of a married partner, but if they’ve married wealthier people, they lose on the other end because the assets their partner brought into the relationship don’t count,” said Ms. Lang.


Have a full and frank discussion about your finances and your willingness to share or not share

Lawyers across the province are already advising new lovers, both same-sex and opposite-sex, to ink prenuptial agreements or, at the very least, celebrate their second anniversary with a detailed “airing of finances.”
“Have a full and frank discussion about your finances and your willingness to share or not share,” Alison Sawyer author of the legal guide If You Love Me, Put It In Writing, said in a recent press release. “That’s not what people want to hear, but lawyers never tell people what they want to hear.”
And when splits occur, instead of simply divvying up their record collections, B.C. couples may now want to seal it with a signature.

Couples should “finalize the relationship … with a separation agreement given that a common law spouse will have at least two years after separation to make a claim for division of property,” wrote Vancouver family lawyer Christine Eilers in an email to the Post.
In the province’s more freewheeling corners, residents are calling the new law the end of an era.
“The innocence is gone,” wrote former Whistler, B.C. councillor Nick Davies writing in a February column for the Whistler Question.
No more would the laid-back ski village see the carefree days of lovers changing partners “as frequently as the wind changed on Alta Lake” or “children of sometimes-uncertain parentage [running] around barefoot in home-sewn floral print dresses.”



Getty ImagesBetween 2006 and 2011, the rate of common-law relationships climbed 13.9% in Canada, while marriages increased by only 3.1%, according to Statistics Canada.
Drafted to replace the province’s 32-year-old Family Relations Act, the Family Law Act was conceived primarily as a way to streamline the backlog of family cases clogging the B.C. court system.
At times, the province’s increasingly quick-ending relationships were taking up as much as 25% of all court time.
The new act encourages divorces to be settled out-of-court and also eliminates much of the legal mess that accompanied the breakup of a common law couple.
Previously, if a ex-common law spouse wanted to make a claim against one of their ex-partner’s assets — say, a house — they had to appear before a judge and make their case for a share of the property based on what they had poured into it via money, labour or childcare.
Between 2006 and 2011, the rate of common-law relationships climbed 13.9% in Canada, while marriages increased by only 3.1%, according to Statistics Canada.


More and more people are living together in unmarried relationships

“The idea [with the Family Law Act] was to capture the idea that more and more people are living together in unmarried relationships [and] are developing financial ties and dependencies,” Vancouver family lawyer J.P. Boyd told Postmedia last month.
“[It’s] a real tip of the hat … to the changing demographics of our time,”
In Quebec, meanwhile, where nearly a third of all couples live in common-law relationships — the highest in Canada — the Supreme Court ruled in January that common-law wives and husbands do not have the same rights as their married equivalent.
B.C.’s new act also beefs up domestic violence protections, including criminal penalties for breaching a protection order.
It also repeals a rarely-used B.C. law that allowed parents to sue their adult children for support.
In February, the B.C. Supreme Court witnessed the law’s last gasp; a 74-year-old woman who abandoned her five children while they were still in their teens and then returned years later demanding a $4,000-a-month payout. Her claim was denied.

Edited by DonLever, 18 March 2013 - 09:57 AM.

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#2 Special Ed

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:48 PM

This was already posted I believe.
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#3 AppleJack

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:59 PM

since I'll forever be alone this doesn't effect me .......
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#4 Lillooet_Hillbilly

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:26 AM

just look as it as an expire date on a relationship, after a year and a half give them the boot other wise it could turn real bad
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#5 Nuxfanabroad

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:40 AM

This is pretty interesting stuff. What about summertime amnesty-buyouts from the new CBA? Allowed two right?
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#6 Lancaster

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:23 AM

Good thing the act isn't retroactive
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#7 nucklehead

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:02 AM

^ What do you mean? This law does not apply to those already living together as of yesterday?
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#8 Heretic

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:28 AM

Love this quote: "but lawyers never tell people what they want to hear.”
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#9 literaphile

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:31 AM

^ What do you mean? This law does not apply to those already living together as of yesterday?


That poster is wrong - yes, the law applies to all relationships.
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#10 Argon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:32 AM

so am I reading this right when I see that it doesn't matter how long you've been together, just how long you've been living together for?
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#11 Argon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:33 AM

so am I reading this right when I see that it doesn't matter how long you've been together, just how long you've been living together for?
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Yo Yo you cant see me anyway what i dont need to writing skills to act cool i got froobacks and steel chains to act cool i lead the new school. Iam untochable this wont be a fight ill walk away with your mic and make you suck your own tailpipe


#12 Harbinger

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:35 AM

so am I reading this right when I see that it doesn't matter how long you've been together, just how long you've been living together for?


right
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#13 Argon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:37 AM

so am I reading this right when I see that it doesn't matter how long you've been together, just how long you've been living together for?
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Yo Yo you cant see me anyway what i dont need to writing skills to act cool i got froobacks and steel chains to act cool i lead the new school. Iam untochable this wont be a fight ill walk away with your mic and make you suck your own tailpipe


#14 Wetcoaster

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:39 AM

Existing thread:
http://forum.canucks...6#entry11132296
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#15 ronthecivil

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

Have a full and frank discussion about your finances and your willingness to share or not share

Lawyers across the province are already advising new lovers, both same-sex and opposite-sex, to ink prenuptial agreements or, at the very least, celebrate their second anniversary with a detailed “airing of finances.”



Oh ya, that would go over well.

Combine the boringness of finances with the notion of not sharing! Great relationship builder!
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#16 DonLever

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:59 AM

So how many of you woke up today and discovered you are married?
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#17 Lockout Casualty

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 10:30 AM

What's the point of getting married and choosing to intertwine each other's finances when the government does that for ya? And two years? I've known people who lived together that long out of high school!

Marriage, not just for those who choose it. Courtesy of BC government. :sick:
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#18 Electro Rock

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:12 PM

I wonder what was really behind this?

Was this a sneaky bid to drive rent and property prices up? Or was it a feminazi power move, or what?
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#19 Lockout Casualty

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:17 PM

I wonder what was really behind this?

Was this a sneaky bid to drive rent and property prices up? Or was it a feminazi power move, or what?


Evangelical Christians creating disincentives to living in sin.
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#20 Wetcoaster

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:24 PM

I wonder what was really behind this?

Was this a sneaky bid to drive rent and property prices up? Or was it a feminazi power move, or what?

The changes were a result of an extensive review of BC family law that began in 2006 and involved 4 years of public consultation resulting in Family Law Act White Paper in 2010. The White paper was then put out for comments.
http://www.ag.gov.bc...ily-law-act.htm
http://www.ag.gov.bc...White-Paper.pdf

It was a recognition that society has changed and that marriage like relationships needed to be brought under an equitable custody and asset division regime. The courts were doing it on a case by case basis using equity law and principles based on the equality provisions of the Charter so it made sense to create a legislative code and have some certainty.
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#21 Wetcoaster

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 12:25 PM

Evangelical Christians creating disincentives to living in sin.

Nope.
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#22 surtur

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:16 PM

That poster is wrong - yes, the law applies to all relationships.

I think they meant past relationships like say i lived with someone for 2 years had a bad break up (before the new law)and then now they pass this law.. i am not worried because it is not retroactive .. i believe it was meant to be funny.
but i assumed this was already the law being in a common law relationship ? i guess i am wrong but if i split up with my GF of 8 years and mother of my two kids (not married) i wouldn't expect her to just accept nothing as i walk away with or without the kids.
as far as i was aware she was legally entitled to half of everything anyways as soon as we reached common law status.
i never really looked into it though.

also this does not make us married we never signed a marriage license. personally to me marriage is a religious thing and no offense to anyone that is religious but God can stay out of my relationship.
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#23 etsen3

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:35 PM

Does this mean if two straight male friends live together they count as a gay couple? Or if a gay guy lives with his girl friend it counts as a relationship? Couldn't you just get around the law by saying you're "just friends"? What about friends with benefits? Where's the line?

Edited by etsen3, 18 March 2013 - 04:38 PM.

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#24 J.R.

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:00 PM

So let me get this straight (yes, pun intended). Gays still aren't allowed to get married in large areas of the globe but straight people are forced to simply by living together for a long enough period by the government. Have I got that right?
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#25 DonLever

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:04 PM

Evangelical Christians creating disincentives to living in sin.


You can't blame everything on those Christians.

Basically the new law clarifies what already exists. People who live together for a certain period are already consider common law in regards to taxation and the distribution of assets if they split up. Nor can you blame the BC government as all governments have or considering such laws. Such is the change in society. Marriage is just a piece of paper.
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#26 ronthecivil

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:05 PM

The changes were a result of an extensive review of BC family law that began in 2006 and involved 4 years of public consultation resulting in Family Law Act White Paper in 2010. The White paper was then put out for comments.
http://www.ag.gov.bc...ily-law-act.htm
http://www.ag.gov.bc...White-Paper.pdf

It was a recognition that society has changed and that marriage like relationships needed to be brought under an equitable custody and asset division regime. The courts were doing it on a case by case basis using equity law and principles based on the equality provisions of the Charter so it made sense to create a legislative code and have some certainty.


Gotta keep the lawyers employed.

What would be equitable would be to not recognize marriage period.
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#27 ronthecivil

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:06 PM

Does this mean if two straight male friends live together they count as a gay couple? Or if a gay guy lives with his girl friend it counts as a relationship? Couldn't you just get around the law by saying you're "just friends"? What about friends with benefits? Where's the line?


It's where you have enough income/assets to make it worthwhile for one party to try to extract it from the other.

See : Work for lawyers.....
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#28 Argon

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:25 PM

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so if I move out with my sister for 2 years, then what?
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Yo Yo you cant see me anyway what i dont need to writing skills to act cool i got froobacks and steel chains to act cool i lead the new school. Iam untochable this wont be a fight ill walk away with your mic and make you suck your own tailpipe


#29 surtur

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:39 PM

so if I move out with my sister for 2 years, then what?

i assume you go to jail ......?
lol
I am sure as with all new laws there will be holes to fill.
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#30 Wetcoaster

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:58 PM

Does this mean if two straight male friends live together they count as a gay couple? Or if a gay guy lives with his girl friend it counts as a relationship? Couldn't you just get around the law by saying you're "just friends"? What about friends with benefits? Where's the line?

The requirement is a "marriage like relationship" as set out in the act - in cases that are in dispute a court well make that determination:


Spouses and relationships between spouses

3 (1) A person is a spouse for the purposes of this Act if the person


(a) is married to another person, or

(b) has lived with another person in a marriage-like relationship, and

(i) has done so for a continuous period of at least 2 years, or

(ii) except in Parts 5 [Property Division] and 6 [Pension Division], has a child with the other person.

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/11025_01
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