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Digest of the Week | Marriage-like Relationship

Parties found to be in marriage-like relationship in recent British Columbia Court of Appeal case

Weber v. Leclerc
2015 CarswellBC 3463
British Columbia Court of Appeal

Family law --- Marriage — Nature of marriage — Common law marriage

Parties lived together from 2002 until 2011 or later with children from previous relationships — Parties purchased property together, had sexual relations, shared expenses as well as vacationed together, shared meals, and went out together as couple — In 2011, wife underwent full hip replacement surgery, and in 2012, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — During this time, husband admitted to seeking legal advice relating to family law as he was considering leaving relationship but intended to support and assist her with her disability — Wife's application for declaration that parties did not live together in marriage-like relationship and were not spouses as defined by Family Law Act was dismissed — Wife appealed — Appeal dismissed — Finding that parties were in, and intended to be in, marriage-like relationship was open to trial judge and entitled to deference — Several factors supported idea that relationship was marriage-like, including cohabitation coupled with romantic and sexual relations and appearance that there was intention to remain together for indefinite period — Parties treated themselves and children as family unit and provided each other with emotional support — Weighing factors was for trial judge and she considered all of them and was entitled to conclude parties were in marriage-like relationship.

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