With changing times, the institution of marriage has changed a lot. Earlier, there were only married couples who could form a family. To get married, you needed a license and a wedding to establish that relationship. But not anymore!
Now, there is another form of marriage that may not need all these things. If you and your partner live together and act as such, you are in common law marriage.
However, if you’re wondering how this is different from marriage and whether there are any legal benefits, we suggest you keep reading!
Marriage vs. Common Law Marriage: What Are the Differences?
Marriage is a union between two people where they need legal recognition. Mostly it is the marriage license. But, also need an official to run a ceremony where they are recognized as a married couple. This ceremony can be at a courthouse or city hall in the presence of a recognized authority. Or it can be a function according to their religious norms.
On the other hand, common-law marriages don’t need such kinds of processes. You can have a common-law marriage without having a license, a wedding, or any legal process.
Instead, they need to follow the following 5 rules according to Canadian law:
- The couple must live in an area where common law marriage is legal. They can be either heterosexual or homosexual couples. There are many countries and states where the homosexual common-law relationship is not legal. For example, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004.
- They must have been living together for a certain amount of time. Although there is no exact amount of time to be precise, the standard time is 1 year. And by 1 year means living together continuously.
- They both have to agree on this relationship. In addition, the couple must be clear of conscience and not be under any influence.
- They must declare their relationship to everyone, such as relatives, neighbours or friends. In addition, they have to act like a married couple socially and financially.
- Either of the spouses cannot be married to someone else.
If you are not sure, you can contact a common law lawyers Winnipeg to check the facts.
Are There Any Benefits To A Common Law Marriage?
Some people may not be comfortable with the idea of common law marriage, especially because there are some misconceptions. But in reality, common law marriage has so many benefits that many consider this an alternative to marriage.
- A convenient alternative to marriage:
To get married, a series of legal procedures is a must. For example, you need a license; you have to be of a certain age; you need religious consent. However, in common law marriage, you don’t need anything of such kind. So it is very convenient for those who want to avoid formalities.
- Tax benefits:
As a married couple, the common law married couple are also entitled to tax benefits. For example, they can file their tax return together to bring the return bracket down, transfer credits, and much more. Also, one partner can share expensive gifts with another to exempt tax.
- Pension benefits:
Common-law spouses have the right to each other’s pension benefits when widowed.
Disadvantages Of Common Law Marriage: Why Should Couple Get Legally Married?
Common-law marriage has several benefits, just like legal marriage. But, if both are the same, why would anyone want to get married?
There are some benefits that only married couples can have. Such as:
- They have no inheritance rights. If one partner dies, the other doesn’t automatically inherit the deceased assets.
- In case of separation, they can’t divide their property.
- One partner doesn’t have any benefit from others’ residence lease.
Know Your Rights as a Common Law Spouse
Like we said before, being in a common-law relationship has many benefits for a legally married couple. However, there are some downsides too. But there are some precautions you can take before getting into such a relationship that will save both the partner’s rights.
In such cases, if you feel that you need some advice on your rights, consult an expert. An experienced attorney will be able to make you understand how to preserve your rights. So that in case of separation or any unfortunate event, you have some ground under your feet.