What Rights Do Non-Romantic Adult Interdependent Relationships Have?


Posted by heritagelawoffices on Feb 7, 2019 in Blog, Family Law

The introduction of the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act provides a legal recognition of the relationship between two people who are not married. However, in order for the relationship to be recognized by law, it must meet certain characteristics. One of the most common misunderstandings is people assume an adult interdependent relationship must be romantic, when in fact platonic relationships can also meet the criteria set out in the act. Read on to learn more about what an adult interdependent relationship is, and what rights are available to those who are in one.

What is an Adult Interdependent Relationship and Why Are They Important?

The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act outlines two ways for a relationship to exist:

  • Both parties have entered into a written Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement or;
  • You are not related by blood or adoption, and you have:
    • Lived with the other person in a ‘relationship of interdependence’ for a minimum of three consecutive years; or
    • Lived with the other person in a ‘relationship of interdependence’ for less than three years, but the relationship has an element of permanence and there is child of the relationship.

A ‘relationship of interdependence’ is defined as a relationship outside of marriage in which both parties:

  • Share each other’s lives;
  • are emotionally committed to one another; and
  • function as an economic and domestic unit.

It’s important to note that the relationship does not have to be sexual to meet these criteria. Platonic relationships can be considered adult interdependent relationships and have the same rights extended.

Examples of non-romantic partnerships that could qualify as an an adult interdependent relationship include:

  • Two members of the same family, such as siblings or cousins
  • Two friends

Legally recognizing these relationships outside of marriage allows people in adult interdependent relationships access to many of the rights, benefits and responsibilities of spouses who are married.

What Legal Rights Do Adult Interdependent Relationships Have?

People involved in an adult interdependent relationship have access to many of both the benefits and obligations of married couples. This includes:

  • Financial support
  • Health coverage
  • Access to a deceased partner’s estate
  • Child support
  • Access to insurance coverage
  • And much more

If your adult interdependent relationship has ended, a family lawyer can help ensure you receive what you are entitled to.

Adult Interdependent Relationships vs. Common-Law

It’s important to note that the term ‘common-law’ is no longer used in Alberta laws. With the introduction of the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act in 2003 the term common-law was replaced with adult interdependent relationship. However, the term living ‘common-law’ is still used by other governments in Canada.

Questions About Adult Interdependent Relationships?

If you are in, or considering entering into an adult interdependent relationship, the team at Heritage Law can help make sure you understand your legal rights. Call us today to schedule an appointment.


Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash