Cohabitation Agreements


Cohabitation Agreements

Who can help you

Our BC Lawyers would be happy to help you with your family law needs:

Jaime Boyle
Daniel K. Lo
Keith Martens

Thinking about moving in with someone? Wondering about how that will affect your assets, liabilities and rights? Read on.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is an agreement between two people before they move in with each other in a marriage-like relationship. Cohabitation agreements set out what to do if difficulties later arise in the marriage-like relationship.

These agreements are binding, subject to the provisions of the Family Law Act and are given strong presumptions under s. 6 that they are effective.

How does a cohabitation agreement differ from a prenuptial agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a marriage agreement (and is governed by the same section of the Family Law Act) however a cohabitation agreement is usually put in place before two parties agree to move in or share a home. After two years of cohabitation in B.C., a relationship becomes governed by the same rules of the Family Law Act as married couples.

When is it too late to get one?

Never! These agreements, while typically made before marriage or cohabitation can be made at any point that both parties are willing to engage in the process.

What can go into these agreements?

All family law issues can go into these agreements, including how property will be divided, spousal or child support, and parenting time. You can chose to address some issues, but not others. You can also have multiple agreements, revise former agreements and more.

Some

Who should have one?

Having a prenup or cohabitation agreement is a very personal choice that will vary from couple to couple. While many feel it’s bad luck or unromantic, having one in place is a form of security, that your decision now could prevent an ugly, bitter fight in the future. People change and so do families, and there’s nothing wrong with being prepared if your family is unable to continue in the same way.

In particular, prenups and cohabitation agreements are recommended for those entering relationships with significant assets (or debts), who may wish to make clear what they brought into the relationship. It’s also recommended for those entering mixed or blended families to make clear what assets need to stay in your family, and which are to become mixed or blended. Lastly, those making the decision to forego work in favour of a life at home may wish a commitment of spousal support to be included.

How do I talk to my future spouse about a prenup?

As with all things around marriage and relationships, it’s important to be as clear a communicator as possible. Emphasise that you’re not asking for this because you expect problems, but as a way to keep everything clear. Talk to them about their feelings, what they believe should be in the agreement and work together.