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Are We Common-Law If We Have A Baby Together?

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We have been living together in Ontario less than 12 months, but already have a baby. Are we common-law from the day the baby was born or until the 12 months of living together? Also is the start date the day we leased the place together, the day we actually moved in, or the day we updated our address with Service Ontario?

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Yes. For the specific purposes of potentially making spousal support claims against each other (should your relationship end in the future), you are already considered “spouses”, since that term embraces common-law couples who meet a specific definition found in the Ontario Family Law Act.

Specifically, for support entitlement purposes common-law spouses are those who live together continuously as a couple: a) for at least three years; or b) for any length of time as long as you are in “a relationship of some permanence” and have a child together.

Since you already have a baby together, your facts suggests you qualify as common-law spouses under option “b” if you can also say you have a “relationship of some permanence”. The fact that you have lived together less than 12 months is not relevant to the issue because in this scenario, the statute refers to “any length of time” of living together. The start-date of your common-law relationship for spousal support purposes is the date you actually move in together.

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