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Are you living common law for tax purposes?

Relationships Status – Common-Law or Not?

The following is an extract from the Ontario Superior court decision in Molodowich vs. Penttinen
(4263 AD1979) where the Judge noted 7 categories and associated questions to consider in determining whether
individuals are spouses even if they are not married, that is, living in a common-law relationship.

SHELTER:

(a)    Did the parties live under the same roof?
(b)    What were the sleeping arrangements?
(c)    Did anyone else occupy or share the available accommodation?

SEXUAL AND PERSONAL BEHAVIOUR:

(a)    Did the parties have sexual relations?  If not, why not?
(b)    Did they maintain an attitude of fidelity to each other?
(c)    What were their feelings toward each other?
(d)    Did they communicate on a personal level?
(e)    Did they eat their meals together?
(f)    What, if anything, did they do to assist each other with problems or during illness?
(g)    Did they buy gifts for each other on special occasions?

SERVICES:

What was the conduct and habit of the parties in relation to:
(a)    Preparation of meals,
(b)    Washing and mending clothes,
(c)    Shopping,
(d)    Household maintenance,
(e)    Any other domestic services?

SOCIAL:

(a)    Did  they  participate  together  or  separately  in  neighbourhood  and  community
activities?
(b)    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?

SOCIETAL:

What was the attitude and conduct of the community towards each of them and as a
couple?

SUPPORT (ECONOMIC):

(a)    What were the financial arrangements between the parties regarding the provision of or
contribution towards the necessaries of life (food, clothing, shelter, recreation, etc.)?
(b)    What were the arrangements concerning the acquisition and ownership of property?
(c)    Was
there any special financial arrangement between them which both agreed would
be determinant of their overall relationship?

CHILDREN:

What was the attitude and conduct of the parties concerning children?

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