Alberta law has made provision for adult interdependent relationships, including adult interdependent partner (AIP) support. This is good news for unmarried couples who must negotiate when the relationship ends. Adult independent relationships now have legal rights and obligations similar to those of married couples. This makes negotiation less complicated by defining clear and fair expectations.
In Alberta, an adult independent relationship refers to what we often call a “common law relationship”. The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act defines an adult interdependent relationship as “a relationship outside marriage in which any two persons share one another’s lives, are emotionally committed to one another, and function as an economic and domestic unit.”
A legal adult interdependent relationship in Alberta is when both individuals in the relationship have:
Adult interdependent partners can be platonic friends or relatives, and they don’t have to live together. Alberta law treats adult interdependent relationships similar to marriage, but there are some differences.
An adult interdependent partner has similar rights to a married spouse. For example, under Alberta’s Wills and Succession Act, an AIP is a dependent with a right to the same inheritance as a married spouse when the partner dies. The Family Property Act grants the same division of property rights after separation to AIPs as to married couples.
Adult Interdependent Partner (AIP) support is the same as spousal support, but for adult interdependent partners. Alberta law allows AIPs to apply for AIP support when the relationship ends. The Family Property Act directs the division of property between AIPs the same as between spouses, unless they have an enforceable agreement that prevents it.
The purpose of AIP support is not to punish or reward partners. Instead, the objectives are to:
Alberta courts evaluate each adult interdependent relationship individually. There are many factors to consider in determining the nature of the relationship and the requirement of AIP support. Some of these factors include:
To qualify for AIP support, a couple must also prove they are in a legal adult interdependent relationship based on the criteria outlined in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act (described above).
Each situation is judged on a case-by-case basis to determine an amount of AIP support that’s fair.
The length of the adult interdependent relationship is typically the key determining factor in the duration of AIP support in Alberta. In most cases, the longer the relationship was, the longer the spousal support order will be. However, there are other factors the court will consider, such as a sudden job loss, making it impossible for a partner to continue AIP support payments.
Alberta’s legal guidelines suggest AIP support continues for 6 months to 1 year for each year that the partners lived together. If the partnership was longer than 20 years, or if the years of living together added to the support recipient’s age equal more than 65, AIP support may be ordered to continue indefinitely.
Because each situation is judged on an individual basis, having an experienced family law attorney is highly recommended. Your lawyer can:
The family law attorneys at Getz Collins and Associates deeply understand Alberta’s laws about adult interdependent relationships and have extensive experience with AIP support. Contact us today.