Cohabitation Agreement


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What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A  Cohabitation Agreement is a written agreement which sets out how financial matters will be dealt with in the event a common law relationship ends. It is usually made in advance of a couple choosing to live together or before the couple become spouses as defined by the Family Law Act.  It is also possible for a Cohabitation Agreement to set out how certain situations might be dealt with during the relationship, such as how finances are to be dealt with, what will happen in case of the death of a partner, etc.

Where a cohabiting couple decides to get married, the Cohabitation Agreement can then act as a Prenuptial Agreement.

Why should I have a Cohabitation Agreement?

There are a number of reasons why couples decide to have a Cohabitation Agreement. One reason is to provide a degree of certainty in relation to issues around property and debt, and how these issues would be dealt with in the event of an end to the relationship or the death of a partner.

A further reason for a Cohabitation Agreement may be to deal with issues relating to spousal support (or “alimony”), such as will there be spousal support should the relationship end, the amount of spousal support or the timing of spousal support payments.

In addition, some couples will occasionally include in their Cohabitation Agreement such things as how the couple’s finances might be dealt with during the relationship, how parenting decisions are to be made, and may even include how household chores are to be divided.

What are the Benefits of having a Cohabitation Agreement?

  • Cohabitation Agreements can provide a large degree of certainty on how issues are to be resolved in the event of either the relationship ending or the death of a partner, bringing with it peace of mind.
  • Where there are children from a previous relationship, a Cohabitation Agreement can provide protection for those children, who may not otherwise have an entitlement to family property following the end of the relationship, or death of a parent.
  • Where property and financial assets exist prior to a marriage, a Cohabitation Agreement can ensure that these assets are protected and preserved. This can also be the case with a family business.  A Cohabitation Agreement also helps to provide a valuation of any property brought into the relationship, which can be claimed as an exclusion should the relationship end.
  • Certain valuables such as family heirlooms for example can be protected by their exclusion from the family estate under a Cohabitation Agreement.
  • A  Cohabitation Agreement can save you considerable amounts of money, as disagreements regarding property division can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars in litigation costs. Having a Cohabitation Agreement, therefore, which deals with those type of issues in advance, is likely to save you a lot of expense.
  • Cohabitation Agreements can take into account your specific circumstances, and can be customised accordingly.
  • Through a Cohabitation Agreement you participate in determining how issues are to be resolved and dealt with, meaning that the court will not impose a decision for you.
  • People are more likely to adhere to the terms of a Cohabitation Agreement than a court decision.
  • Where a relationship ends, a Cohabitation Agreement can provide a flexible method of dealing with issues which may arise as a result of the relationship ending.
  • Having a Cohabitation Agreement in place is likely to result in a reduced level of stress or potential disagreement should the couple split, given that many of the issues have already been addressed. This is likely to have a further important benefit of helping to maintain a good relationship.
  • A respectful understanding of each other’s wishes in the event of the death of a partner or the relationship ending may be reflected in a Cohabitation Agreement.
  • A  Cohabitation Agreement can help preserve the relationship by reducing the potential for disputes during the relationship. Many potential issues can be discussed and dealt with while the couple is happy and communicating, rather than during a time the couple is having difficulty in their relationship. In other words, a Cohabitation Agreement can help to strengthen your relationship.

Why is a Cohabitation Agreement Important?

The sad reality is that there is a very high rate of relationship breakdown. A  Cohabitation Agreement will give you the certainty you need to sleep better at night knowing that you and your children are protected.

Why use Onion Legal to help with creating your Cohabitation Agreement?

Onion Legal’s Cohabitation Agreement has been thoroughly reviewed by B.C lawyers to ensure that it meets with the strict requirements of the laws of British Columbia. By filling out our simple questionnaire you will create a  comprehensive Cohabitation Agreement that we are confident will surpass your expectations and more importantly give you the peace of mind you are looking for.

What does Onion Legal’s carefully drafted Cohabitation Agreement contain?

Onion Legal’s Cohabitation Agreement contains clauses dealing with the following issues:

  • Division of expenses during the relationship;
  • support during the relationship;
  • Spousal support upon the termination of the relationship;
  • Responsibility for debts, including debts incurred prior to the relationship and debts incurred during the relationship;
  • Ownership of property, including property acquired prior to the relationship and property acquired during the relationship;
  • Ownership of gifts and inheritance;
  • Ownership of Family Residence during and upon the termination of the relationship; and
  • Manner of resolving disputes.

How do I commence the process of creating my Cohabitation Agreement?

Simply click on the link below and purchase our Cohabitation Agreement, fill out a simple questionnaire. When you submit your questionnaire, your Cohabitation Agreement will be assembled and emailed to you. It is that easy!