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The Supreme Court of Canada decides that Common-Law Couples who split up deserve their fair share

The Supreme Court of Canada decides that Common-Law Couples who split up deserve their fair share

The Supreme Court of Canada recently clarified the rules for separating common law spouses in the case of Michele Vanasse v. David Seguin.

Michele took a leave of absence to move with David to Halifax for important business reasons.  Over the next 3½ years, the Michele and David had two children with Michele staying home to look after the kids and David developed his company.

Michele and David moved back to Ottawa in 1998. In September 2000, the company was sold, netting David about $11 million. Michele and David separated in 2005.

Since Michelle had given up her job for several years to look after children and help her partner David Seguin build his business she was entitled to financial compensation.

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell state that “where both parties have worked together for the common good, with each making extensive, but different, contributions to the welfare of the other and, as a result, have accumulated assets, the money remedy for unjust enrichment should reflect that reality”.

This Supreme Court decision now creates are more equal footing for common-law couples and moves them closer to the status and rights that married couples currently enjoy.

However, unlike many married couples the rights and status of common-law spouses will continue depend on the facts of each case. Russell Alexander and his team of family law professionals can assist you with ascertaining your own rights in this regard.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Vanasse v. Seguin can be found at

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers and is the firm’s senior partner. At Russell Alexander, our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues, including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. We have locations in Toronto, Markham, Whitby (Brooklin), Oshawa, Concord, Lindsay, and Peterborough.

For more information, visit our website, or you can call us at: 905-655-6335.