Polyamorous family don’t have many legal protections
Polyamorists — those who commit to a relationship with more than one person who is in a committed intimate relationship — face challenges when they are looking for legal protections for family law matters in Canada. While this population demographic isn’t a large one, the executive director of the Canadian National Research Institute for Law and the Family notes that he believes that population is on the rise.
The issue for polyamorists is that current laws in Canada protect same-sex couples, common-law couples, and multiple parents if a baby is conceived via reproductive techniques, but there aren’t any protections for polyamorists. A survey that was conducted and had more than 550 respondents found that half of those who did reply were in relationships that involved three people. Most of those had two households, but 23 percent of them had a child who lived in one of the homes full time.
At the heart of the polyamorous issue is that nobody in the relationship is married to more than one person at a time. That means that polyamorous relationships are legal as long as the participants are informed and consenting adults.
Without the protection of marriage, polyamorists face a long battle when it comes to family law matters. Only one-third of the people who responded to the survey said that they had taken the steps necessary to formalize duties and rights of everyone in the family unit. Even then, there is a limit to what those steps can accomplish.
Interestingly, a British Columbia court has already taken a stand when it comes to polyamorous relationships. In that case, a woman in a polyamorous family wanted to move to Alberta from BC. The judge ruled that the children shouldn’t be moved because they needed to be able to continue to have relationships with their parents, siblings, and other extended family members.
That one ruling shows that there is some recognition for polyamorous relationships; however, there is a long way to go. If you have family law issues and are in a polyamorous relationship, you are walking in a new realm of the law. That means you need to be sure you fully understand your legal options in all cases.