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.
A cohabitation agreement is a document created by two people in a domestic relationship who are living together. The agreement outlines how they would divide their shared assets in the event they decide to separate in the future.
Couples in Ontario who are planning to marry can sign prenuptial agreements that will allow them to predetermine the roles of each party in the marriage and how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. Because unmarried spouses are unprotected when it comes to property division, they may want to exercise their rights to sign cohabitation agreements. With such a contract in place at the beginning of a cohabitation relationship, a couple can focus on life and love rather than what would happen if they should split.
Common-law relationships are governed by provincial laws that differ from province to province. However, Ontario couples in such relationships may not realize that without legal documents to prove a marriage and an actual ceremony, each party in the relationship has almost no rights in the event of a breakup. The only way they have to protect their interests is by signing cohabitation agreements.
Canada is a vast country which extends "from coast to coast to coast." Provincial laws, as a result, can vary widely from province to province, and from territory to province. This includes how each part of the federation views unmarried couples and their rights and obligations toward each other when they decide to dissolve their living arrangements. In such cases, cohabitation agreements can provide a reassuring foundation for moving forward in an amicable and cooperative spirit.
Statistics in Canada indicate that more than ever, couples are opting to live together without getting married for longer periods of time. Some couples even choose to forgo marriage altogether. However, people who decide to commit to a long-term relationship may want to think about devising cohabitation agreements to protect their individual rights in the event of a separation.
It doesn't matter if you call it a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or marriage agreement, this may be something you want to consider at the beginning of your relationship.
When drafting a prenuptial agreement, most people hope that this never comes into play. They hope they never divorce their partner. Even so, they realize that this could happen at some point in the future.
Until recently, many people only considered marriage and cohabitation agreements as something needed by the wealthy. The truth is that no matter how few assets or debts you may have, a marriage or cohabitation agreement is a good legal step.
A common law relationship is when two people are not married, but they are still in a relationship and they live together. This is also sometimes referred to as cohabiting. Either way, it's very important to know what rights you have in a relationship like this, as they are not always the same as the rights you'd get if you were married, even if you have been together for years.