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Vital Statistics

Registering or dissolving a common-law relationship...

On June 30, 2004, The Common-Law Partners. Property and Related Amendments Act came into effect. This act creates new property rights and obligations for people in common-law relationships, including same sex relationships.

As a result of the legislation, laws in Manitoba affecting the property rights of married couples now also apply to unmarried couples or common-law relationships. This means that if a common-law couple separates, each partner is entitled to half the value of the property acquired by the couple during the time they lived together, just like married couples. It also means that if one of the partners dies, the surviving common-law partner has a claim to his or her estate.

The act creates a new registry at the Vital Statistics Agency that gives common-law partners (who are adults living in Manitoba) the opportunity to register their relationship, if they wish to do so. Once a relationship is registered, all the major property laws immediately apply to the couple in the same way they apply to married couples.

Registration is completely voluntary. Common-law couples are not required to register. However, even if a couple does not register, the property laws will apply to them after they have lived together, usually for three years. In some cases, though, it is less than three years. You should consult a lawyer to find out what the time period is for your situation.

A registered common-law relationship can only be terminated by registering a dissolution, and only once the couple has lived apart for at least one year. The termination date affects some rights, such as the right to apply to court for a division of property. Either former partner has up to 60 days, after a dissolution is registered, to apply for an accounting and equalization of assets under The Family Property Act.

While some rights and responsibilities end when you stop living together, or when the relationship is formally terminated, others continue beyond termination.

For more information regarding your rights and obligations in your particular situation, you should contact a lawyer.

For more information on The Common-Law Partners. Property and Related Amendments Act, visit the Manitoba Justice website at:

www.gov.mb.ca/justice/family/familyindex.html

For information on how to register your common-law relationship, or the dissolution of your common-law relationship, contact:

Vital Statistics Agency
254 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0B6


Telephone: 204-945-3701
Toll-free: 1-800-282-8069 ext. 3701 (within Manitoba)
E-mail: vitalstats@gov.mb.ca


Conditions and Instructions to Register a Common-law Relationship

Both parties must be at least 18 years of age, resident in the Province of Manitoba and living together in a conjugal relationship.

Neither party can be married or be a party to another common-law relationship that is currently registered in Manitoba that has not been dissolved.

The following documents must be submitted for each party:

  • A birth certificate, Canadian Citizenship certificate or Immigration record. If original documents are submitted they will be returned.
  • If either party has previously been married or has registered a common-law relationship, a photocopy of a Certificate of Divorce, proof of death of former spouse or a copy of the registration or certificate of dissolution of the common-law relationship is required.

A common-law relationship certificate may be issued on payment of the prescribed fee.

NOTE: A dissolution of a common-law relationship may only be registered under The Vital Statistics Act where the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year.

FEES AND PAYMENT (Subject to change)

Registration of Common-Law Relationship: $100.00

Certificate or Certified Photocopy of Registration of Common-Law Relationship: $25.00

Payment must accompany the registration and may be made by cheque, money order or credit card; or if delivered in person, by cash or bank debit card. Cheques are payable to "Minister of Finance". The form and fees are to be submitted to the Vital Statistics Agency.

Telephone 945-3701 or Toll-free 1-800-282-8069 (in Manitoba)

Conditions and Instructions to Register a Dissolution of Common-law Relationship

Parties may only register a dissolution of a registered common-law relationship.

Identification of the person(s) registering the dissolution is required. Proof of change of name is required if the name of either party is different from the Registration of Common-law Relationship.

If only one party applies to register the dissolution of the common-law relationship, then the other party must be served with a copy of the completed registration. The registration form must be accompanied by proof of service on the other party that is less than 30 days before the registration form is received by Vital Statistics.

Service on the other party must be made personally by the declarant or by a third party and an Affidavit of Service must be completed and submitted with the registration form. If you are unable to serve the other party you should consult a lawyer for alternatives.

The dissolution of the common-law relationship will be registered when the following requirements have been met:

  • 28 days have elapsed from the date of service on the non-signing party, or any dispute between the parties about the date of separation has been resolved
  • upon payment of the prescribed fee

FEES AND PAYMENT (Subject to change)

Registration of Dissolution of Common-Law Relationship: $100.00

Certificate or Certified Photocopy of Dissolution of Common-Law Relationship: $25.00

Payment must accompany the Registration form and may be made by cheque, money order or credit card; or if delivered in person, by cash or bank debit card. Cheques are payable to "Minister of Finance". The form and fees are to be submitted to the Vital Statistics Agency.

Telephone 945-3701 or Toll-free 1-800-282-8069 (in Manitoba)

 

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