Globe and Mail

YUKON: Family-law changes could spark property disputes

The Globe and Mail
Thursday, October 21, 1999

WHITEHORSE -- The Yukon government is close to proclaiming amendments to a family-law act that could open the floodgates for property disputes among common-law couples, a lawyer says.

Shayne Fairman said yesterday the amendments to the Family Property and Support Act include an unclear definition of spouse and couple, allowing for common-law couples to have the same property rights as married couples.

That could lead to abuse, Mr. Fairman said. "Arguably, you could be living with a roommate for a year and if you part on particularly bad terms and that roommate really wants to make your life hell, they can run to a lawyer and say, 'We were spouses,'" he said.

But Justice Minister Lois Moorcroft said the changes bring about much-needed consistency to protect the spouses and children of common-law families who are separating. Ms. Moorcroft said she hopes the amendments will be proclaimed this fall. CP

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