Love is love, no matter how you look at it. Same sex couples have the same rights as any other couple in Canada.
What are my Rights?
If you plan on entering or leaving a relationship, the same rights and rules apply to you as it would for any heterosexual couple.
If you plan on moving in together, you should consider your rights pursuant to common law rules. Think about whether you want to have a cohabitation agreement written up before you move in together.
Engaged? A prenup is always a good idea. It gives you and your fiancé an opportunity to discuss and choose your rights in the event that you two separate in the future. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen – but precautionary steps like this can save you a lot of headache in the long run!
Don’t forget to apply for your marriage license 3 months before your wedding date. You’ll need this to make sure your marriage is legalized properly! Instructions on how to apply for the license can be found on our Marriage License page.
If you are going through a separation, consult with a lawyer and decide whether you should have a separation agreement drawn up.
Have shared property or are seeking support payments? Matters involving property division or finances can easily be complex. Consult with a lawyer before you take any steps.
What about divorces? The same rules in the Divorce Act will apply for you. Take a look at our article on divorces and the divorce application process.
What if we leave Canada after we marry?
This is when it may become a little confusing. If you legally marry in Canada, your marriage will be valid in Canada. If the place you move to recognizes your marriage, you would have whatever rights as a married couple in that jurisdiction as their legislation allows. However, if you move to a country outside of Canada that does not recognize same sex marriages, it can become complicated.
Let say you and your spouse move to a fictional country of Stonewall. They do not recognize same sex marriages. Now, three years later, you want a divorce.
Here’s the problem: Stonewall does not recognize your marriage as valid, but in Canada and many countries, you’re legally married. What can you do now?
Well, if you or your spouse separate, and one of you move back to Canada for a minimum of one year, Canada will be able to grant a divorce for you two. The spouse who becomes a resident in Canada for one year will then follow the divorce application process.
This remedy is useful if the two of you have an amicable separation. If either you or your spouse argue over support payments, access, or property division, it can become an issue if the matter goes to court and both parties live in different jurisdictions.
You should consult with your local lawyer to see what your rights are in marriage and separation.