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He added that married couples can be equally nescient. Laws governing common-law relationships differ across the country in both the length of time two partners must cohabitate before they are considered common law and what partners are entitled to in the event of a breakup or death.READ MORE: ‘No one could relate’: widows speak out on losing spouse at young age Division of property laws, in particular, “are a disaster,” says Boyd.John-Paul Boyd, executive director of the Calgary-based Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, says many people in common-law relationships are unaware of their rights and entitlements or lack thereof.That’s despite Statistics Canada figures that show the number of common-law relationships grew at a rate more than four times that of married couples between 20.“I think people should have the right to have the relationship that they want,” says Boyd.Toronto home sales have tanked 40 per cent and prices are down nearly 5,000 since April. " data-medium-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=960" / Messages of support continue to come in to those who were on the Humboldt Broncos bus when it crashed on Friday, including the team’s trainer, Dayna Brons.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy " data-medium-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=649" /For the first time since the Phoenix payroll debacle began, IBM is speaking about the software at the centre of the project that it was hired to install. photojournalist Matthew Schrier, centre, was abducted by the Al Qaeda faction in Syria on Dec. " data-medium-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=960" / Mon, Apr 9: The parents of 18-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki, a survivor of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, say despite their son’s paralysis, he is already eager to take up sledge hockey. " data-medium-file=" quality=70&strip=all&w=300" data-large-file=" Boyd ranks British Columbia as the most common-law-friendly province.

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Fourteen years later, Briand says not nearly enough has been done to protect common-law partners.

Both Boyd and Briand say it’s important for partners to protect themselves, whether by getting hitched or signing a legal document.

“In Alberta, for example, you only have rights if you sign an agreement as an Adult Interdependent Partnership. Only married people have any presumptive rights.”Common-law standing in Ontario entitles partners to claim spousal support but not property.

Unmarried partners in Nova Scotia can claim spousal support once they’ve been in a common-law relationship for two years.

However, partners living together in a conjugal relationship can also file a Domestic Partnership Declaration, which provides many of the same rights as for married couples.

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