Know Your Rights
Cohabitation Right/Rights of Unmarried Spouses
If there are children of your relationship, you have the same rights with respect to the children as a married person. Parenting rights (custody/access) and child support do not depend on a marriage. Spousal support is different. Spousal support in either an opposite or a same-sex union depends on whether you and your partner have lived together “(a) continuously for a period of not less than three years, or (b) in a relationship of some permanence, if [you and your partner] are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.” Automatic rights to property division apply only to married spouses. Non-married spouses cannot claim an equalization payment. In certain circumstances, however, a non-married spouse can claim a right to property in the other partner’s name. These rights depend on showing that there was an agreement that the other partner would hold the property or part of it in trust for the partner claiming the right, or that the partner claiming the right had made direct or indirect contributions to the property in terms of money or money’s worth that “unjustly enriched” the other partner.
Some agreements and court orders will restrict where the parties can reside with the children following the separation. Our law does not permit a parent to make a unilateral move with the child if the move would change the relationship between the non-moving parent and the child. In order to move with a child away from a parent it is necessary to receive permission from the court because such a move would likely mean that court ordered access or agreed upon access would no longer take place. If you are thinking about making such a move with your child, you should contact one of our lawyers to make sure that you do not take steps which would be harmful to your legal position in the future. On the other hand, if you believe that the other parent is about to move with your child, you should immediately contact one of our lawyers to ensure that your rights as a parent are protected.