Couples who are not married, but who live together or plan to live together, can enter into a cohabitation agreement, similar to a prenuptial agreement, in order to protect their rights and assets, and decrease potential problems in the event of the breakdown of their relationship.
At NULaw in Toronto, we regularly assist clients seeking advice about cohabitation agreements. We also draft agreements, and can review and negotiate existing agreements to make sure that you are protected to the fullest extent possible.
The rate of common-law relationships has steadily been increasing in Canada. However, couples who live together but are not married do not enjoy the same protections under the law as their married counterparts. Most notably, they do not have similar property rights. Under the Family Law Act, married couples enjoy the benefit of “equalization” (or equal sharing) of any net family properties acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation. Common-law couples may be able to seek equalization in some circumstances, but this is not guaranteed. Similarly, unmarried partners may also have the right to spousal support or child support in the event of relationship breakdown, depending on the circumstances.
The best way for a common-law couple to ensure a fair division of property in the event of a breakup, and to protect their right to spousal and child support is to confirm those rights in a well-drafted cohabitation agreement created by a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer.
Much like a marriage contract, the parties to a cohabitation agreement can agree on whatever terms they wish in their contract. Commonly addressed matters include:
For those couples who end up getting married, a cohabitation can be turned into a marriage contract with or without amendments.
At NULaw, we have your best interests in mind. We will outline your options, help you understand your rights, and ultimately ensure that your assets and interests are protected. Proactively plan for your future: contact us online or at 416-481-5604 to book a consultation with family lawyer Lex Arbesman.