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Family LawWho is a Spouse?

  1. A spouse is a married couple or a couple that has been living together in a marriage like relationship for two years.
  2. When determining what is a marriage like relationship the court will examine:
    1. SHELTER:
      1. Did the parties live under the same roof?
      2. What were the sleeping arrangements?
  • Did anyone else occupy or share the available accommodation?
    1. Did the parties have sexual relations? If not, why not?
    2. Did they maintain an attitude of fidelity to each other?
  • What were their feelings toward each other?
  1. Did they communicate on a personal level?
  2. Did they eat their meals together?
  3. What, if anything, did they do to assist each other with problems or during illness?
  • Did they buy gifts for each other on special occasions?
    1. What was the conduct and habit of the parties in relation to:
      1. Preparation of meals,
      2. Washing and mending clothes,
      3. Shopping,
      4. Household maintenance,
      5. Any other domestic services?
    2. SOCIAL:
      1. Did they participate together or separately in neighbourhood and community activities?
      2. What was the relationship and conduct of each of them towards members of their respective families and how did such families behave towards the parties?
    3. SOCIETAL:
      1. What was the attitude and conduct of the community towards each of them and as a couple?
      1. What were the financial arrangements between the parties regarding the provision of or contribution towards the necessaries of life (food, clothing, shelter, recreation, etc.)?
      2. What were the arrangements concerning the acquisition and ownership of property?
  • Was there any special financial arrangement between them which both agreed would be determinant of their overall relationship?
    1. What was the attitude and conduct of the parties concerning children?”
  2. While you can only be married to one person in BC you can actually have more than one spouse. The case of Mother 1 v. Solus Trust Company 2019 BCSC 200 <> < Killer of Chinese millionaire Gang Yuan jailed – BBC News> is a very interesting instance of this. Before the deceased’s death he carried on numerous romantic relationships and had children with 5 different women. These women didn’t know about each other and, until the Deceased’s death, they all thought they were in spousal like relationships with the Deceased.
  3. It is also not strictly necessary to be living in the same accommodations as your partner to be considered spouses. Two instances where partners that did not live together full time but were considered to be spouses:
    1. A lesbian couple that had an on again off again relationship for 30 years with the last 9 years being together. One of the major reasons why the couple was not living together was that one of the spouses was a devout Catholic and did not want people to know about their relationship.

Robledano v. Jacinto, 2018 BCSC 152

  1. A police officer and a lawyer were in a relationship for 20 years. The police officer and the lawyer never lived in the same residence because the officer said the lawyer was a hoarder. The lawyer died. The court found that they were spouses.

Connor Estate,2017 BCSC 978

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