If you live together for two or more years, or if you have a child together, you are considered common law spouses. Under the Family Law Act of British Columbia common law spouses (which includes same sex spouses) have the same rights and obligations as married spouses.

A Cohabitation Agreement can be useful to protect your assets and define your responsibilities to one another. It is important to know what your legal standing is, or might be in the future, to protect yourself and your assets. This is especially true if spouses have disproportionate assets or financial circumstances, or if you have existing family obligations from a previous relationship.


A Pre-Nuptial Agreement or Marriage Contract can protect your assets and address your future expectations, before they become “issues”. Situations of second or subsequent marriages, or where marriage will merge significant assets or debts, have matters worthy of early consideration and agreement.


In the midst of emotions, change and confusion, clarify your goals and desired outcomes. Learn about various process options and obtain straightforward definitions of legal terms. Secure an opinion on the reasonableness of your goals, and realistic timelines. Respectfully negotiate the various economic, legal and parenting consequences related to the end of your relationship. Choose the dispute resolution process that best suits your goals and your optimal level of participation in the negotiations. Once resolutions are agreed upon, codify your settlement in a Separation Agreement, to provide certainty and clarity.


Nothing is certain except change. Time can bring the need for changes to your arrangements for parenting time, schedules, spousal or child support. I can help you understand what is reasonable, what is a “material change in circumstances”, and what processes might be available to you to re-negotiate a new outcome, with a minimum of conflict and stress.


Whether it is the initial consideration of how to structure a Parenting Plan/Schedule, or later challenges with implementing the Parenting Plan – the best interests of your Children are paramount. I can offer recommendations on how to achieve workable schedules which respect the desire of each parent to be an active participant. Co-parenting after the relationship ends is often the most difficult and emotionally charged area of family law, but is fundamental to healthy child development and a stable family unit.