What’s A Cohabitation Agreement and Why It Is Essential for Unmarried Couples?

Cohabiting couples are those who are not married or in a civil union yet live together. The number of these cohabiting couples is sharply rising over recent years. As their separation is not in the conventional norm, it often leads to a rise in complex legal disputes. Cohabiting couples can enter into a Cohabitation Agreement to avoid these legal uncertainties.

Cohabiting couples have a romantic notion. They usually don’t believe in marriage or don’t like to be in a civil union. However, the reality is a bit harsher. Separation of cohabiting couples always leaves the weaker partner in a vulnerable state, especially when the children get involved.

That’s why unmarried couples need to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. So you need to know what exactly a Cohabitation Agreement is and why it is essential for you.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a legal agreement between unmarried couples who have decided to live together. It outlines how they share their assets, who will get custody of children and many other vital issues.

It’s much like a prenuptial agreement though there have some differences. A cohabitation agreement has more flexibility.

Why is a cohabitation agreement essential for you?

When a married couple breaks up, both parties get protection under martial law. Everything is sorted out. Who will get what portion of assets, who will get spousal support, who will get child custody, etc.?

No matter how long they live or whether they have children, cohabiting couples don’t have such kind of rights.

Let me give you an example of how a cohabiting couple can suffer after separation. Suppose the one partner moves to another partner’s residence. They live together for quite an extended period. He/she even has contributed to his/her partner’s mortgage.

Now if they split up, he/she will have no legal right to share his/her property. You can imagine the vulnerability of that partner.

Apparently, the only way this couple can get protection by entering into a cohabitation agreement. This agreement will let the couple document how you will divide your property, savings, personal belongings, etc. when they split up. It also deals with child support, bank accounts, and debts.

Furthermore, the couple can fix how much each contributes to mortgage and bills. It even covers up the partner’s day to day finance.

How Can You Get a Cohabitation Agreement?

These are the following steps to get a cohabitation agreement in Canada-

Step 1: pursue individual counsel

Each party should hire a lawyer before the agreement. The lawyer makes sure that his/her clients understand the deal before they sign it.

Step 2: Create a list of things you want to cover in the agreement

The lawyer and couple should negotiate over the things they want to include or exclude in their contract. It is a very crucial part of the deal. In this way, the partners can avoid future legal fights and other possible complications.

Step 3: Disclose your finances

In this step, you have to disclose all your financial documents. This includes your income and debts, savings, CPP,  investments, and RRSP’s. This way, the agreement can ensure that both parties will get a fair share when they separate.

Step 4: Make the agreement.

Both your lawyer and your partner’s lawyer should review every paper in detail. The writing and document may not be valid in court if it’s not adequately evaluated. Once both parties are satisfied, the material is signed.

Want to know more about the cohabitation agreement in Canada? Here are some interesting facts for you-

  • The cost of the cohabitation agreement Alberta varies between $2,000 and $3,000.
  • The cohabitation agreement in Ontario is a bit costly. It may cost you around $2,500 to $5,000.
  • If a cohabiting couple wants to buy a property while they together, they should have a cohabitation agreement first.
  • If an unmarried couple plan to get married but don’t want to wed soon can also arrange a cohabitation agreement.

The Bottom Line

A cohabitation agreement may sound a bit unromantic. It also may seem a bit pricy. Then again, you have to be a little more practical to avoid future heartache and financial insecurity. The cost of the agreement is really high. But trust me, you might have to spend 100 times more to get your due rights if you don’t have a cohabitation agreement.

We are always here to help you to deal with your legal issues. If you have a further query about the cohabitation agreement, please feel free to contact us at any time.