Thanks for the replies. We have been together for about 3 years now. I quit my job in July 2011 in order to be with her. I visited her from July 2011 until September 2011 when we went on a trip together to Europe for a few weeks. We have evidence of remaining together during our trip (flight docs, hotel receipts). We came back to Canada and I visited with her from October until end of January. We then again left for a few weeks to travel abroad (again I have evidence of this). I last entered Canada at the end of February 2012, when we returned from our trip together. I have no stamp in my passport saying I need to leave prior to 6 months from February 2012, so do I need to remain with her as a visitor until then? I think that is the best option, although I have not been working all this time and it is hard on me to make ends meet. I would like to apply for common-law as soon as possible. We had been visiting each other as frequently as possible prior to July 2011 too.
As far as evidence of living together, we have a shared bank account, shared utility bill, I have save dozens and dozens of receipts for household purchases, I have mail sent to her address, and we have tons of photos of us together. She owns the house, so there is no lease to have my name on.
I hope I have a leg to stand on. Any opinions?
It depends on the specific dates you've been together in the past year (e.g., did you leave early/late Sept, how long was your trip, and how far where you apart). The rules say:
"To be considered common-law partners, they must have cohabited for at least one year. This is the standard definition used across the federal government. It means continuous cohabitation for one year, not intermittent cohabitation adding up to one year. The continuous nature of the cohabitation is a universal understanding
based on case law.
While cohabitation means living together continuously, from time to time, one or the other partner may have left the home for work or business travel, family obligations, and so on. The separation must be temporary and short.[/quote]
Read through pages 26 and 27 of OP-2 (link above) for additional details, including details of the type of proof they are looking for* (included below).
Assuming you have only had short, temporary separations since you moved in to her house in July 2011 then you'd be eligible to apply once you meet the year in July of this year. You can start pulling together the application in the meantime - take a look at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp
* "The following is a list of indicators about the nature of the household that constitute evidence that a couple in a conjugal relationship is cohabiting:
Joint bank accounts and/or credit cards;
Joint ownership of residential property;
Joint residential leases;
Joint rental receipts;
Joint utilities accounts (electricity, gas, telephone);
Joint management of household expenditures;
Evidence of joint purchases, especially for household items;
Correspondence addressed to either or both parties at the same address;
Important documents of both parties show the same address, e.g., identification documents,
drivers licenses, insurance polices, etc.;
Shared responsibility for household management, household chores, etc.;
Evidence of children of one or both partners residing with the couple;
These elements may be present in varying degrees and not all are necessary to prove cohabitation. This list is not exhaustive; other evidence may be taken into consideration."