Setting expectations and boundaries is important for any couple, especially when they are about to take the next step in their relationship. For many couples in Ontario, living together is happening earlier and earlier in relationships, as a growing number of unmarried adults choose to live with a significant other. In these cases cohabitation agreements can be important, especially when it comes to finances.
To come up with a fair cohabitation agreement that both parties appreciate, it is a good idea to put everything on the table. This includes talking about financial history and future goals. Sharing credit scores, salaries, savings and debts may also be wise at this stage. Disclosing this information can help people manage expectations and clarify restrictions on mutual purchases.
Once all information is out in the open, couples can start with a plan for splitting expenses. In some cases 50/50 is the best option; for others, one person doing more financially while the other shoulders household chores may be the best approach. Cohabiting couples should be careful to consider costs outside of rent, including food, gas and even shared vacations or dates.
Putting these arrangements in writing can be a great idea for cohabiting couples in Ontario. Since there is typically less legal recourse for unmarried couples in case of a breakup, this will help make sure both parties get what they signed up for under the law. A lawyer is important to have on hand when developing cohabitation agreements, as they can help draft an agreement that is legally binding.