How Long Do We Have to Live Together?

May 15, 2007 – 3:03 pm

There can be confusion over how long a couple needs to live together before “rights” arise. Couples sometimes assume if they do not marry and live together for less than two years, there can be no legal claims. Although there is a two year requirement under the Family Relations Act, before a claim for spousal maintenance can be made, that is not the end of the matter.

For example, if a couple starts living together, each may bring assets into the relationship. One spouse however, may own much more than the other. One spouse might own a house. The couple might start living together in that house. At the same time, the non-owning spouse might, for several months, do a lot of work on that house.

Should the relationship fail, even though lasting only a few months, the non-owning spouse has a potential trust claim, for an interest in that house. There is a solution to this problem, known as a cohabitation agreement, the subject of another post.

If you have questions call or email our office – (250) 656-3961 –

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