Can you be married and have a common law spouse?

Yes, at least when it comes spousal support obligations following your death. In Dagg v. Cameron, 2015 ONSC 2597  – a case dealing with dependency claims under the Succession Law Reform Act – Justice Bale found that a deceased person could have two spouses to whom he or she owes support obligations.

In this case, the Deceased was legally married to the Respondent when he started cohabiting with the Applicant, who became pregnant with the Deceased’s child. The child was born after the Deceased’s death. The Applicant then brought an application for support under the SLRA, claiming to be a dependent spouse.

The definition of “spouse” under the Act includes two unmarried persons who are the parents of a child and have cohabitated in a relationship of some permanence. In this case, although the child was born post-mortem, Justice Bale found that the Deceased and the Applicant were, on the date of death, the parents of a child who was conceived before and born after the Deceased’s death.