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New Family Law Changes in 2020

Sourced From: Alberta.ca

Bill 28 – Family Statutes Amendment Act 

As stated on the Bills and Legislations on Alberta.ca there will be multiple changes related to property division laws and improvements to child support for adult children with disabilities. 

Bill 28 received Royal Assent on December 11, 2018 which will have very important changes to property division for unmarried partners.


The “Adult Interdependent Partners”, also known as common-law partners or unmarried partners, is defined in Alberta’s Adult Interdependent Relationships Act as follows:

  • Two people who live together in a relationship of interdependence for at least 3 years; or
  • of some permanence and less than 3 years if the couple has a child; or
  • who have entered into an adult interdependent partner agreement


For those common law partners, the property division law in Alberta is about to change in 2020. More
information can be found at httpss://www.alberta.ca/family-law-changes.aspx


Bill 28, also known as The Family Statutes Amendment Act has been passed to deal with the properties that owned by the unmarried couples. Unlike married couples, which is governed by the Matrimonial Property Act of Alberta, there is no legislation to divide the properties for unmarried couples. 

This has been led to uncertainty in court for unmarried partners. The current Matrimonial Property Act will be replaced by Family Property Act in 2020 and it contains a number of important aspects.

Property Division 

Considering there are only legislations in Alberta that express marital property division for married couples, a new legislation will indicate how property division will work for unmarried couples.  

As stated on Alberta.ca the following changes will come in effect on January 1, 2020: 

  1. It applies to both unmarried couples as well as married couples. Therefore, there is no distinction when it comes to the division of the family property. 
  2. The Family Property Act allows the partners to draft their own agreement as to how to divide the property themselves. In other words, the legislation allows the parties to decide their own way of dividing the family property as opposed to be governed by the rules in the Act.
     
  3. The rules of property division applies to the property acquired after the relationship. Sometimes, the couple entered into the common law relationship and then get married. In that situation, the rule of property division also applies to the period whereby they lived as common law, prior to marrying each other. 
  4. You may need to have a separate property division agreement when you are common law vs. when you are married. Agreement made during cohabitation would not apply once you get married unless the contract clearly stipulates the clear intention of the parties. If doubt, it is better to have a separate agreement in order to demonstrate the clear intention of the parties.  
  5. The existing property agreement is still enforceable provided that it is signed prior to the Act coming into force.   

Child Support

Bill 28 also contains the very important changes to improve child support for adult children with disabilities. Family Law Act is a provincial legislation which governs the child support for unmarried couples and married couples in non-divorce proceedings. Some of the changes with respect to the child support in the Family Law Act are as follows:

  1. It removes the age limit for adult children with disability. 
  2. One can make a court application for adult children who need support because of illness, disability or “other cause”.

More information can be found here httpss://www.alberta.ca/family-law-changes.aspx

Contact our Family Lawyers Today!

If you see changes that may affect your current situation and do not know how to proceed, please contact our family lawyers for more information at (403) 476-2011 or book a consultation online

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