Family Law

The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act

In Alberta, the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act is a statute that was introduced in 2003 principally to address the legal issues in cohabitation arrangements.  

In Alberta, partners who meet certain criteria explained in the legislation qualify as interdependent partners , and they have many of the rights and obligations of married couples.

It is not only cohabiting male/female couples who can meet these criteria. Any two people, regardless of their gender and whether they are related or unrelated, can qualify though the rules differ slightly in some cases.

According to the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act , a partnership can qualify as an interdependent relationship if it exists outside of marriage and the partners:
  • share each other's lives;
  • are committed to each other economically; and
  • function as an economic and domestic unit.
As well, the couple must have done at least one of the following three things. They must have:
      1. lived together interdependently and continuously for three years or more;
      2. lived together interdependently and with some degree of permanence and have a child (either by adoption or birth);
      3. drawn up and signed a legal document called an Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement.