In Alberta a common-law relationship is one where either a same-sex couple or opposite-sex couple lives together without being married. The law with regard to common-law relationships in Alberta has changed with the introduction of the concept of adult interdependent relationships.
The law is set out in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act (AIRA). AIRA applies if you have signed an Adult Interdependent Partnership Agreement; if you have lived together with your partner in an interdependent relationship for three or more years; or if you live together and have a child together. If AIRA applies you may have some rights under the Family Law Act. This may include an entitlement to spousal support and/or division of property in the event that you and your partner break up. There is other legislation, both federal and provincial that may also impact your rights. This includes the Employment Pension Plans Act in Alberta and the federal Income Tax Act, both of which apply to common-law relationships where you have lived with a person in a conjugal relationship for one year or longer. Contact your lawyer, Legal Guidance Clinic, or Women’s Center Clinic for further information.