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Sep

12

Cohabitation Agreements in Ontario – What are they all about?

Cohabitation Agreement lawyer Michael Carabash

Cohabitation Agreements Ontario

Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice with respect to your common law relationship or a cohabitation agreement in Ontario, you should seek professional assistance.

Ontario Cohabitation Agreement: the Cohab-O-Matic

A Cohabitation Agreement is a domestic agreement between non-married adults who want to either avoid or create financial obligations that may arise from their cohabiting or eventual marriage. Our Cohab-O-Matic is like Turbo-Tax for creating an Ontario Cohabitation Agreement.

Without a Cohabitation Agreement, cohabiting couples may have to battle it out in court to determine their legal rights, entitlements and obligations.

You can read all about the rights and obligations that cohabiting couples have or don’t have (when compared to married spouses) here.

You can start the Cohab-O-Matic wizard by click on the “Get Started” button below:

The Cohab-O-Matic is an online questionnaire that takes users through a series of questions about their relationship to ultimately create a custom-tailored cohabitation agreement that is based on the laws of Ontario. It asks questions related to:

  • The parties
  • The children of the parties
  • Date of cohabitation
  • Support
  • Description of significant financial assets, debts and other liabilities (required for a cohabitation agreement to be valid and enforceable)
  • The home (ownership of the home, home expenses, leaving the home, selling the home, etc.)
  • When the agreement will terminate
  • Whether the agreement will become a marriage contract if and when the parties marry each other
  • Estate entitlements
  • Alternative dispute resolution (e.g. mediation, arbitration, etc.)

As you can see (or perhaps will see), the Cohab-O-Matic is VERY comprehensive and flexible. Once you’ve completed the online questionnaire, you can proceed to PayPal and then, when you’re done paying, you’ll be able to download your custom-tailored Cohabitation Agreement.

And here’s some more value that we bring to the table: you can edit your Cohabitation Agreement for a set period of time afterwards for FREE, you can read a comprehensive and regularly updated eBook about Cohabitation Agreements in Ontario (to better understand your legal rights and entitlements and how Cohabitation Agreements work and what they’re all about), and you can read the mandatory signing instructions at the end to make sure that enter into the Cohabitation Agreement properly.

And you can do all of these things by yourself with your spouse without the involvement of a lawyer or having to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees.

Cohabitation Agreements

In this blog, I’ll be discussing cohabitation agreements in Ontario, what they are, what their benefits are, etc.

What is a cohabitation agreement?
A Cohabitation Agreement is a written contract between two people who are cohabiting or intend to cohabit and who are not married. The Cohabitation Agreement deals with the parties’ respective rights and obligations during and after their cohabitation (or on death) and can deal with things like: ownership or division of property, support obligations, the right to direct the education and moral training of children, and any other matter in the settlement of their affairs (s. 53 of the Ontario Family Law Act). Importantly, a Cohabitation Agreement cannot say who will have custody of, or access to, children if the relationship ends. Finally worth mentioning is that a Cohabitation Agreement does not need to deal with all rights and obligations concerning the relationship: it can only be concerned with one asset (e.g. a house) or one obligation (e.g. support to one party upon termination).

Benefits
Cohabitation Agreements are used by cohabiting persons and common law spouses when they are or intend to cohabit with each other and want certainty, predictability and control their financial affairs in case the relationship breaks down.

What is required for a legally binding cohabitation agreement?
As with marriage contracts, the requirements for a cohabitation agreement in Ontario to be valid and enforceable are:

  1. The parties must make full disclosure of their financial assets, liabilities, income and expenses.
  2. The contract must be in writing and signed by each party before a witness.
  3. The contract must be entered into voluntarily and not under any duress, undue influence, etc.

It is advisable that each party retain separate counsel to protect their rights and promote their interests. Family law lawyers can help draft, negotiate, and explain cohabitation agreements to you. The last thing you want is for the marriage to breakdown and a spouse to claim that he or she did not understand the cohabitation agreement, entered into under duress, did not understand it, and did not receive independent legal advice concerning it!

Worth mentioning is that, if the parties decide to get married, the cohabitation automatically becomes a marriage contract unless it is expressly voided. It is not automatically canceled upon marriage.

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