Alberta proposes changes to property, adult child support rules for common-law couples

The Alberta government has tabled a bill to make property and adult child support rules the same for married and unmarried couples.

The province is falling in line with other jurisdictions that have made similar changes.

Alberta currently has no legislation that outlines property division for common-law partners.


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And a judge ruled earlier this month that when it comes to child support involving dependent adults, the law is more stringent for unmarried couples who split up than divorced ones.

The judge, hearing the case of unmarried parents of a severely disabled adult, found that restrictions in Alberta’s Family Law Act violate the charter of rights.

The act currently states that child support for adult children of unmarried couples must only be made for those who are full-time students between 18 and 22.

The bill proposes support claims be extended to adult children under parental care because of illness or disability. Full-time students would remain eligible, but with no age cap.

The bill would also abolish the outdated 1922 Married Women’s Act that removed restrictions on married women to own property. That right is already guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If passed, Alberta’s new legislation would come into force Jan. 1, 2020.

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