Legal separation in canada and dating
In recent years, the term common-law marriage has gained increased use as a generic term for all unmarried couples – however, this term has a narrow legal meaning.
First of all, one can only talk of "common-law marriage" if such marriage was formed in a jurisdiction which actually applies the common law.
Non-marital relationship contracts are not necessarily recognized from one jurisdiction to another, and neither are de facto couples, whereas common-law marriages, being a legal marriage, are valid marriages worldwide (if the parties complied with the requirements to form a valid marriage while living in a jurisdiction that allows this form of marriage to be contracted).
There were several more or less formal ceremonies to choose from (partly interchangeable, but sometimes with different legal ramifications) as well as informal arrangements.