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N.S. examining common law alimony

The Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia says it is going to examine whether the provincial law that governs marriage should apply to common-law couples.

The advisory group says the review is prompted by a Supreme Court of Canada decision last week that said Quebec is not required to include common law couples in its matrimonial property legislation.

That decision has placed the often contentious issue back with provincial governments.

The commission says some argue that under existing law in Nova Scotia, partners in common law relationships aren’t properly protected when property is divided in the event of a breakup.

On the other hand, the commission also says that some common law couples may choose to remain unmarried in order to avoid the financial and property sharing obligations of married couples after a separation.

In Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, legislation regards common law couples as spouses for purposes of dividing family property.