You and your partner are spouses if you're married to each other or in a common-law relationship.
For the purpose of spousal support, a common-law relationship means you:
- cohabited, or lived together, as a couple for at least 3 years, or
- were in a relationship of "some permanence" for any length of time and had a child together.
Cohabiting means living together in a marriage-like relationship but without getting married. It is often called "cohabitation" or "living common-law".
A court looks at these factors to decide if you're in a common-law relationship:
- Did you live together?
- Did you have sex?
- Did you do household chores for each other like cooking, cleaning, and laundry?
- Did you act as a couple socially?
- Did your friends, family, and community see you as a couple?
- Did one partner support the other financially?
- Did you combine your finances?
- Did you act as parents to each other's children?
Even if you and your partner did not live together for 3 years, you may still be spouses if you had a child together and lived together in a relationship "of some permanence".