Common Law Spouse Estate Problems

Do common law spouses have the same estate rights as married couples?

Common law spouses do not have the same estate rights as married spouses. They can sue their partners’ estate for support and make a claim for unjust enrichment.

Here are 3 steps that a court must follow to find unjust enrichment:

Step 1. You must show that you enriched your partner, either by your services or financial contributions. What do the courts look for? You must show you have, through services, financial contributions or otherwise, enriched your partner.

Examples of Enrichment

You could have:

• agreed to give up your career

• supported your partner in a business

• made cash contributions towards a down payment of a home

• provided domestic services

• handled child care needs

Step 2. You suffered a loss; it could be a loss of time or money by providing the enrichment.

Step 3. There is no legal reason for you to have enriched your partner. There was no contract or you did not intend to make a gift.

You can read more about unjust enrichment here. You can also read my comments about common law spouses in this Canadian Lawyer article.

To discuss your common law issue, contact our law office here.