The Difference Between Common Law Relationship and Marriage
In terms of immigration application more specifically expose of sponsorship whether it’s an inland application or an overseas application. We represent clients that are either in a common-law relationship or they were married and they have a marriage certificate. And I’m often asked the question by clients when I do a consultation is it okay if I’m in a common-law relationship or should I get married to my partner in order to make the application better or stronger? So the answer is that you could do, you can be married which and qualify for spousal sponsorship or you can be in a common-law relationship and you also qualify for spousal sponsorship.
You are allowed to a sponsor the common-law spouse or your married spouse. There’s no difference between the two. Both in terms of the strength or one is not better than the other, therefore the answer that you decide with your partner.
What’s the decision for you? We have clients that are religious. They want to get married. We have clients that are not religious. But believe in the institution of marriage and they get married. We have clients that do not believe in marriage. They want to be common-law partners. They’ve been living together for many years. We have clients that have been married for a year or two and they qualify for a common-law relationship. We also have clients that have previous marriage. But they’re not divorced yet or they are not able to get a divorce or divorce or anything for a long time, and now they’re in a new relationship.
For example, they’re in a common law relationship for many years, but they’re not divorced, they can still qualify for spousal sponsorship. For example, we have a lot of clients from the Philippines where it’s very difficult almost impossible to get a divorce unless you get an annulment which could be very expensive so a lot of our, most of our Filipino clients.
That is submitting spousal sponsorship that had a previous marriage they’re not divorced but they have now common law, a common-law partner and they can proceed with that. So in terms of documentation if you’re married obviously you need to have a marriage certificate. Your marriage, the marriage needs to be a valid and in the location that, where the marriage took place it also has to be, a marriage that’s recognized by Canada. But you don’t have to necessarily get married in Canada. You get married anywhere in the world.
Currently, in the last few months, Immigration has made some changes to the spousal sponsorship documentation. So even if you are married, the marriage certificate is now, it’s not sufficient. There’s also other documentation in terms of if you’re living together if you are married well during a long-distance relationship. There is also a set of specific documents.
Common Law Partnership
There is also some very specific documentation in terms of cohabitation. The document checklist is very specific, and it’s now regularly changing. So it’s very important to make sure that, when you submit your application you need to look at the document checklist.
For example, for the Common-law relationship, you have to prove that you’ve been living together. And a lease agreement, just a lease agreement, for example, is not sufficient. You, for example, might have to have your driver’s license you and their spouse have to have the same address. You might have to have to submit joint Utilities where you’re both on the documentation, so those are now very strict requirements and if you don’t have those, those documents whether you’re married or in a common law. You submit your applications there are good chances that either your application is going to be refused, or it’s going to be returned to you a couple of months later and then you can lose some time.
To summarize, if you’re in a relationship, you’re dating somebody, it’s been a few months, it’s been a few years, and you’re ready to you know. You want to sponsor your partner, and you’re not sure if you want to get married or should you get engaged? Get married? You want to live together or maybe you’ve been living together and now you want to think about immigration. The way to go about it is not to say well, what’s stronger marriage or common law? This is a very personal decision for your relationship? So you and your spouse have to discuss.
Because if you get married there are a lot of things that come into play as a result of getting married, there are a lot of rules that get triggered. If you ever get separated and you won’t engage in divorce proceedings it could get quite complicated. I always recommend my clients to consult with a family lawyer if they want to get married. If you don’t want to get married and But you’re going to live together, and if you do that you qualify to sponsor your spouse.
There are also some rules that get triggered once you live with somebody. There are other obligations and responsibilities that don’t because you’re not getting married. So it’s really a personal decision. Whichever path you choose, then if you submit the application yourself, or you choose to hire a lawyer. You have to prepare your application in a specific way. So that was the answer to whether you should, you know if it’s marriage or common-law.