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Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

Old Oct 17th 2003, 1:57 am
  #1  
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Default Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

Hi everyone. I've been reading this forum for awhile and have gotten some good information. However, I still have more questions. Hoping some of you can help...

Mark is a male British citizen, aged 30, never married with no children. I am a female Canadian citizen, aged 45, divorced with 3 children who live at home. My oldest child is self-sufficient (well mostly) and I share custody of the other two children with my ex-spouse. From February of 2000 until October 2000, Mark rented a condominium here and continued to work in England. Since October 2000, Mark has been living with me and my children for at least 3/4 of each year . He was able to do this because he was self-employed with sufficient finances to return to England regularly to conduct business and to comply with the terms of his visitor stamp. On my 2001 and 2002 income tax returns, I reported Mark as my common law spouse because we had lived together for 12 months. In January of 2002, Mark applied to immigrate as an entrepreneur but had to withdraw when they changed the rules. Mark recently obtained a work permit and started work in June but he has lived almost entirely on his savings and rental income from the UK since December of 2001. His savings are almost all gone now.

We applied as common law partners in Canada in March and we were recently advised that both of us must attend an interview to determine if we, in fact, live in a common law relationship rather than as roommates. When we enquired about the reasons for the interview, we were told that we did not submit sufficient documentation to prove our relationship from October 2000 to the present. The officer told Mark that proof of travel together, photographs, correspondence, etc. is not what they want to obtain and they want the documentation to cover the entire period of our relationship.

When we submitted our application, we provided proof of regular payments from Mark to me for his share of the household expenses, a joint cable TV bill, Option C printouts of my 2001 income tax return showing my marital status as common law and letters from our mothers and from a mutual friend stating that we have presented ourselves as a couple publicly and to our families. Based on information I read in a previous version of the CIC manual, I suspect that some of the reason there is doubt stems from the fact that I am older than Mark.

We have been asked to provide a will, insurance policies, health insurance policies, more joint utility bills, income tax returns or other documentary evidence. Because of our situation, we have none of these beyond the items we submitted. My will does not name Mark as the beneficiary of my estate because two of my children would require the use of my estate should I pass away. Although his name is on our automobile insurance policy, my life insurance policies name my estate for the same reasons I outlined above. Mark didn't qualify for health insurance until this month because we were told he needed to wait 3 months after receiving his work visa. I owned our home prior to meeting Mark. His name is not on the title and he wants no claim to a share of the house because he respects my concern for the children's financial future. The utilities are in my name because I had contracted for the services prior to meeting Mark. We do not have joint savings or chequing accounts because I like to feel financially independant and I want to keep our finances separate. We choose not to marry because neither of us are religious, we will not be having children together and we really see no reason to marry legally. However, we do consider ourselves committed to a long-term relationship and I wear a commitment ring.

In November of 2002, Mark wrote to the tax department for a new ruling on his residency and his marital status under Canadian tax law. We will bring that letter and the reply we received to our interview. In addition, we will bring my datebook for 2001 filled with dates of family birthdays and trips that includes many items related to Mark. In addition, we will bring the Option C printouts of my income tax returns (which they already have) that show my marital status as common law.

Is this going to be enough evidence? What types of questions will be asked at the interview? How would we know if the doubt is due to the difference in our ages? Given that the definitions of "common law" for both tax and immigration require that two people ordinarily cohabit in a conjugal relationship for a period of 12 months, how can the tax department put the onus on us to prove we are not common law and yet we encounter the opposite presumption for the purposes of immigration? If we are not able to convince the immigration officer of the sincerity of our relationship, what will happen to Mark then? When do we need a lawyer?

I'm so frustrated about this whole process. I'd appreciate hearing any comments or suggestions especially from the legal experts or those working at CIC or those who have had to prove a common law relationship.

Robbie
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Old Oct 17th 2003, 3:49 pm
  #2  
Robin
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Default Re: Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

The officer told Mark
    > that proof of travel together, photographs, correspondence, etc. is not
    > what they want to obtain and they want the documentation to cover the
    > entire period of our relationship.
    >
    > >
    >
    > We have been asked to provide a will, insurance policies, health
    > insurance policies, more joint utility bills, income tax returns or
    > other documentary evidence. Because of our situation, we have none of
    > these beyond the items we submitted.

We choose not to
    > marry because neither of us are religious, we will not be having
    > children together and we really see no reason to marry legally.
    > However, we do consider ourselves committed to a long-term relationship
    > and I wear a commitment ring.
    >

Well, hopefully they'll pass him when you and he attend the interview.
Because, really, these officers need to open up their manuals and
RE-READ them. I know that they might want some "concrete" evidence to
demonstrate that you've been living conjugal in the same place for 12
months...but It clearly states in the manual that financial
interdependency is only ONE of several "determiners" of a bonafide
relationship, and financial ties may not even exist with some couples.


(god. enough with the "we want to see financial ties" bull. Come ON
people; these days, little boys and girls can have their OWN MONEY in
their OWN names. jeeese. What century are we living in, eh?)

(not sure why they are questioning you guys so much. What gets me is
how contradictory these officers can seem sometimes. ONE officer will
let an applicant off the hook and give him an easy ride, and he might
have hardly any evidence at all of a relationship; while another
officer will GRILL someone else to death who has supplied plenty of
evidence)


sheesh. what a "luck of the draw" game it all is, eh?

(spin the bottle for a good/bad, aware/confused officer)


Best of luck! Hopefully these guys see the LIGHT for you guys, and
soon!


Robin
 
Old Oct 18th 2003, 4:31 am
  #3  
Suzieq
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Default Re: Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

HI Robbie
I was a sponsored commonlaw spouse from within. We have appx. the same
age gap as you guys do. Im 46 my commonlaw husband is 33. I was also
concerned that CIC would question our relationship because of this..
but they didnt. We did not have to do any interviews. I submitted
basically what you did as proof of our relationship. A few pictures,
letters from his parents and sister, a letter from our apt. manager.
The only thing i can think of that we submitted that you didnt was a
rental insurance policy in both our names, and he had added me to his
Sears and Mastercards. We dont bank together, so no joint bank
account. Maybe you could add him to a credit card or two, even if he
doesnt use it maybe that would help? It only takes a phone call to do
this. Let me know how the interview turns out. Agegap relationships
are quite common.. but as we know its usually the man thats older..
and that seems to be quite acceptable.. who knows if the woman being
older brings up red flags with CIC. Good luck at your interview..
 
Old Oct 18th 2003, 5:06 am
  #4  
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Robbie&Mark is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Thanks

Thanks for the replies and the good wishes. We're both pretty nervous about the types of questions that will be asked since we saw one of the lawyers on here once say something like: "Prepare for a grilling!" Sounds painful...

Thank you for the ideas about adding each other to credit cards. I'll look into doing that on Monday.

It's also nice to hear from someone else who made it through the system. Congratulations and best of luck to both of you!
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Old Oct 18th 2003, 9:42 am
  #5  
Renee
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Default Re: Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

I'm not common-law, but I just wanted to wish you the best of luck with your
application. I'm five years older than my husband - I'm 32 and he's 27.
*grinning* It usually works out okay, since my female friends pat me on the
back for having a younger man, and his male friends think it's cool that he
has an older woman. The two of us tend to forget about our ages completely.

Best wishes to you!

Renee

--
Inland Spouse Timeline so far:
19 Feb 2003: Moved to Calgary from U.S. on 6 month TRV
12 May 2003: Did medicals in Calgary
20 June 2003: Applied for TRV extension
5 July 2003: Wedding Date
17 July 2003: CIC received inland spouse PR application
15 Aug 2003: Received 6 month TRV extension
20 Aug 2003: CIC request for work history dates (which were sent with
application)
21 Aug 2003: CIC received work history reply by overnight post
4 Sept 2003: CIC e-Client finally shows "in process"


"Robbie&Mark" <member@british_expats.com> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > Thanks for the replies and the good wishes. We're both pretty nervous
    > about the types of questions that will be asked since we saw one of the
    > lawyers on here once say something like: "Prepare for a grilling!"
    > Sounds painful...
    > Thank you for the ideas about adding each other to credit cards. I'll
    > look into doing that on Monday.
    > It's also nice to hear from someone else who made it through the system.
    > Congratulations and best of luck to both of you!
    > --
    > Posted via http://britishexpats.com
 
Old Oct 18th 2003, 11:43 pm
  #6  
Blivingston
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Default Re: Documentary proof of a common-law relationship in Canada

Hi all. I too am older than my husband by 2 1/2 years. CIC does seem
to take notice of age differences as ours were documented in the CAIPS
notes in the analysis of our relationship. I think if you have enough
supporting evidence of your relationship then you're okay. I also
know sponsors that have been 7 years & 12 years older than their
boyfriends (former fiance class)that had no problems at all -
applicants were from a country with a reputation for marrying to come
to North America.
 

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