Alberta's Adult Interdependent Relationships Act and you

June 01, 2004

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Alberta's Adult Interdependent Relationships Act and you

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NOTE: By law, Alberta Justice cannot provide legal advice on personal legal matters. This document is intended to provide basic information about this legislation and how it may affect you.

You may wish to consult a lawyer for more information about how this law may apply to your relationship.

Table of Contents - Electronic version

1. What is the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act?

2. How do I know if I'm in an adult interdependent relationship?

3. How do I enter into an adult interdependent partner agreement?

4. What should an adult interdependent partner agreement look like?

5. Will there be a provincial, centralized registry of adult interdependent partner agreements?

6. What are some examples of responsibilities and benefits now extended to adult interdependent partners under this law?

7. Does this legislation apply to relationships that began prior to June 1, 2003?

8. Does this law affect my taxes or pension plan?

9. How can adult interdependent partners terminate their relationship?

10. Does this law change the definition of marriage?

11. Why were current Alberta laws changed?

12. Where can I find out more about this legislation?


1. What is the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act?

The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act was passed during the fall 2002 sitting of the provincial Legislature and becomes law on June 1, 2003.

This act amends several Alberta laws for people in unmarried relationships involving economic and emotional interdependency. The act covers a range of personal relationships that fall outside of marriage, including committed platonic relationships where two people agree to share emotional and economic responsibilities, and provides a legal definition for an adult interdependent partner relationship.

2. How do I know if I'm in an adult interdependent relationship?

There are two key elements that define an adult interdependent relationship.

First, an adult interdependent partner is a person who is involved with another person in an unmarried relationship of interdependence where they:

  • share one another's lives
  • are emotionally committed to one another, and
  • function as an economic and domestic unit.

Second, to be considered adult interdependent partners, one of the following must apply to the relationship. The adult interdependent partners must be:

  • living in an interdependent relationship for a minimum of three years
  • living in an interdependent relationship of some permanence where there is a child by birth or adoption, or
  • living in or intend to live in an interdependent relationship and have entered into a written adult interdependent partner agreement.

Note: Parties related by blood or adoption must enter into a partner agreement to become adult interdependent partners.

3. How do I enter into an adult interdependent partner agreement?

Two people who live or intend to live in an interdependent relationship may enter into an adult interdependent partner agreement at any time. See question 4 for a description of how a proper agreement should be prepared.

Parties who are related to each other by blood or adoption must enter into a partner agreement in order to become adult interdependent partners.

4. What should an adult interdependent partner agreement look like?

A proper agreement must follow the schedule created in the regulations for this act, as outlined below.

This agreement is prepared by the partners with or without the assistance of a lawyer or third party

Schedule, Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement

Between:

(Name and address of adult interdependent partner)

and

(Name and address of adult interdependent partner)

We understand that by entering into this agreement we will become each other's adult interdependent partner and will have all the benefits and obligations of adult interdependent partners under Alberta law.

1. We agree that

(a) each of us is 16 years of age or older

(b) neither of us is a party to an ongoing marriage or adult interdependent partner agreement, and

(c) we are living or intend to live together in a relationship of interdependence

2. We understand that

(a) pursuant to the Wills Act, each of our existing wills may be revoked by the entering into of this agreement, and

(b) this agreement will expire if we become former adult interdependent partners pursuant to the Adult Interdependent Relationship Act.

In witness whereof we have executed this agreement in the (city, town, county) of (province, country) this ________ day of (month), (year).

 

(partner's signature)

Adult Interdependent Partner

(witness signature)

Witness
(print name and address)

(witness signature)

Witness
(print name and address)

(partner's signature)

Adult Interdependent Partner

(witness signature)

Witness
(print name and address)

(witness signature)

Witness
(print name and address)

Guardian's signatures (if applicable):

Date:___________

(Guardian signature)

Guardian

(Print name)

Date:___________

(Guardian signature)

Guardian

(Print name)

NOTES:

  1. Each adult interdependent partner's signature must be witnessed by two witnesses.
  2. If either adult interdependent partner is under the age of 18 years, the guardians of that person must sign above indicating their consent to the person entering into the Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement.
  3. A person who is under the age of 18 years may not enter into an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement if the person is related to the other party by blood or adoption.
  4. An adult interdependent partner agreement may be part of or attached to another agreement between the parties.
  5. If an adult interdependent partner agreement is part of or attached to another agreement between the parties that contains one or more provisions relating to the property of one or both of the parties, the parties are advised to seek legal advice as to their rights and obligations in respect to that property.

5. Will there be a provincial, centralized registry of adult interdependent partner agreements?

No. These agreements are personal contracts between people who agree to take on the responsibilities and benefits of an adult interdependent partnership either prior to the three-year period or at any time after that time frame if they wish to formalize the relationship.

6. What are some examples of responsibilities and benefits now extended to adult interdependent partners under this law?

To provide equal access to Alberta law, the term "adult interdependent partner" has been added to several acts that outline the financial responsibilities and benefits of Albertans in both married and unmarried relationships.

An adult interdependent relationship may be considered when determining eligibility for benefits or obligations under a variety of Government of Alberta programs and laws.

For example:

  • Adult interdependent partners are obligated to financially support one another.
  • Adult interdependent partners and their dependants will be able to register together for coverage under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan. Both partners' incomes will be considered when determining eligibility for premium assistance under the plan.
  • Adult interdependent partners will be eligible for insurance coverage (e.g. life, auto, property) currently available to spouses.
  • A deceased adult interdependent partner's estate will be obligated to adequately provide for the surviving partner.
  • An adult interdependent partner may access all or a portion of a deceased partner's estate should the partner die without a will.
  • An adult interdependent partner's existing will may be revoked upon entering into an adult interdependent partner agreement.
  • Adult interdependent partners will have the ability to recover damages for the wrongful death of a partner.
  • An adult interdependent partner may apply for a protection order if an adult interdependent partner has subjected them to violence or threat of violence.
  • A public body may disclose personal information to the adult interdependent partner of an injured, ill or deceased individual, or so that the person's adult interdependent partner may be contacted.
  • Various conflict of interest provisions extended to married couples will also apply to adult interdependent partners.

Note: For details on how these changes apply to assistance you are currently receiving from the Government of Alberta, call 310-0000 for toll-free connection to the program or service that may affect you.

7. Does this legislation apply to relationships that began prior to June 1, 2003?

Yes. Time spent living together before June 1, 2003, will be taken into account when determining whether or not two people will be considered adult interdependent partners.

For instance, if two people lived together for two years before June 1, 2003, and then continue to live together in a relationship of interdependence for over one year, as long as the total continuous time living together was more than three years, they will be considered adult interdependent partners under this act.

8. Does this law affect my taxes or pension plan?

Some Alberta laws must comply with federal legislation and therefore cannot include all partnerships outlined in the Adult Interdependent Partnerships Act.

For example, the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act has been amended to adopt the federal definition of common-law partner* as required by our tax collection agreement with the federal government.

The Employment Pension Plans Act has been amended to include the term "pension partner." Although this act applies to many committed, unmarried relationships, it does not apply to all adult interdependent partners because pension plans recognizing platonic relationships are not registerable under the Canadian Income Tax Act.

* According to the Federal Income Tax Act, a taxpayer's common-law partner is defined as a person who cohabits in a conjugal relationship with the taxpayer and either: has cohabited with the taxpayer for a continuous period of at least one year; or is the natural or adoptive parent of a child of the taxpayer.

9. How can adult interdependent partners terminate their relationship?

  • The partners may sign a written agreement stating their intention to live separate and apart, without the possibility of reconciliation.
  • The partners live separate and apart for more than one year or both partners intend that the adult interdependent relationship not continue.
  • The partners marry each other or one of them marries or enters into an adult interdependent relationship with a third party.

10. Does this law change the definition of marriage?

No. The Alberta government recognizes that for many Albertans, marriage has a traditional, religious and cultural meaning as a relationship between a man and a woman. Alberta law will continue to recognize this distinction.

This act defines "spouse" in all Alberta legislation as a married partner - a husband or a wife.

11. Why were current Alberta laws changed?

Over the years, courts and lawmakers have recognized the need for laws to address the financial and property issues of people in committed relationships outside of marriage.

Because committed unmarried relationships create financial dependencies and responsibilities, the government must:

  • ensure our laws clearly outline the responsibilities people willingly take on when they enter into a financially and emotionally interdependent relationship; and,
  • provide access to the courts or other legal mechanisms to settle disputes when these relationships come to an end.

12. Where can I find out more about this legislation?

To purchase a copy of the act, call the Queen's Printer 780-427-4952 (dial 310-0000 first for toll-free connection anywhere in Alberta).

Created:
Modified: 2012-12-18
PID: 15739