Along with the New Year come some significant changes to the laws directing how people in common-law partnerships (also known as Adult Interdependent partners in Alberta) divide their property upon the breakdown of their relationship. Right now, the law around common-law property division is underdeveloped and often confusing and relies on an old legal theory called unjust enrichment. This places unmarried couples at a disadvantage to married couples when it comes to knowing your rights and entitlements to share in property, including the family home, cars, RRSPs, pensions and so forth.
Common-law couples, also known as adult interdependent partners, do not qualify for the same legislative rights that apply to married couples who are divorcing. However, many common-law couples have demanded for updates to the legislation. Unmarried couples found there were very few rights they could rely on to protect their financial and property interests in the event they decide to end their relationship.