Mulan I totally agree that some people have really warped reasons for choosing to live common law rather than marry. But others also have valid reasons. My cousin's common law partner refused to marry him because she is opposed to some of the history of marriage, where marriage was used to advance family positions (among the very rich) and where brides were treated like traded goods (she's a historian). In any event, she didn't want to be part of that so they never married but they did raise 2 beautiful children and the youngest will be attending college next year. That's just an example - there are others and I can respect those (at least more than the getting-out-easier excuse).

As for legal standing for yourself and your son, here in Canada there is no difference whatsoever whether you were a common-law family or married. An ex-commonlaw spouse has the same child-care obligations as an ex-married spouse. We have spousal support here but it is extremely difficult to get it - even SAHM's who've been done nothing but raise kids for 20 years often don't get it. Married vs. common-law has nothing to do with it. Even your house and assets are divided in the exact same way whether you are common law or married.