Whether a relationship is marriage-like also typically depends on more than just their intentions

Whether a relationship is marriage-like also typically depends on more than just their intentions

This is a more difficult question, because we’re talking about people’s intentions and beliefs, and not simply where they keep their socks and underwear. Objective evidence of the parties’ lifestyle and interactions provides direct guidance on the question of whether the relationship is marriage-like.

This question comes up often enough that there are some really good cases that talk about what a « marriage-like relationship » involves. L.T.F. v R.B.F, 2023 BCSC 834, is a recent case where the court summarizes leading cases and various factors to bear in mind when trying to determine the starting date of a marriage-like relationship.

Some individuals have simply given no thought as to how their relationship would operate

In a 1998 case called Takacs v Gallo, our Court of Appeal said that you can sometimes tell whether a relationship is marriage-like or not by looking at these factors:

Relationships outside marriage are much more difficult to ascertain

Did the parties live under the same roof? What were the sleeping arrangements? Did anyone else occupy or share the available accommodation?

  • Sexual and personal behaviour:

Did the parties have sexual relations? If not, why not? Did they maintain an attitude of fidelity to each other? What were their feelings towards each other? Did they communicate on a personal level? Did they eat their meals together? 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?

  • Household chores:

What was the conduct and habit of the parties in relation to the preparation of meals, washing and mending clothes, shopping, household maintenance , and other domestic services?

  • Social:

Did they participate together or separately in neighbourhood and community activities? Lire la suite