I am pleased to announce that we have Cohabitation Agreements for both Ontario and Alberta. More specifically, we have two kinds of Cohabitation Agreements: (1) ones that terminate when the parties get married to each other and (2) ones that continue to still be valid and enforceable when the parties get married to each other. All of the Cohabitation Agreements in this website allow the parties to avoid creating financial obligations that could or would otherwise arise as a result of the parties cohabiting with each other (and possibly getting married to each other). In any event, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss what a Cohabitation Agreement is all about and what are the typical terms you would find in a typical Cohabitation Agreement.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A Cohabitation Agreement is a written agreement between adults who are not married. In Ontario, Cohabitation Agreements are governed by the Family Law Act in terms of what types of things they can deal with (e.g. support, ownership and division of property), how they can be entered into (i.e. in writing, before a witness), and how they can be challenged. In Alberta, there is no one piece of legislation that governs cohabitation agreements. Rather, there’s a few pieces of legislation that deals with support and property rights. First, there’s the Adult Interdependent Partnerships Act. This Act, coupled with the Family Law Act, creates spousal support obligations for adult interdependent partners; that said, adult interdependent partners can agree to waive spousal support if certain legal requirements are met (which I’ve previously discussed on this blog). Furthermore, if the parties end up getting married, then their property will be divided at the end of their marriage according to the Matrimonial Property Act – unless a properly entered into Cohabitation Agreement (which survives marriage) says otherwise.
Why have a Cohabitation Agreement?
Non-married adults may want to have certainty over their financial affairs. They may want to avoid the legal effect that rights or obligations may have on them as a result of their cohabitation or marriage. These rights and obligations may arise from the common law, equity, trust, or out of statute. In the alternative, cohabitation agreements can actually change the “usual” rights and obligations by creating specific ones (e.g. with respect to how much support must be paid, or how ownership and division of property will be determined).
What happens if you don’t have a Cohabitation Agreement?
Not having a Cohabitation Agreement can leave non-married adults at the mercy of the common law, equity, or statutes when it comes to right and obligations both during and after their cohabitation or marriage. This may result in significant financial obligations. This may also require that the parties end up hiring lawyers and going to court in order to figure out how to determine support and ownership and division of property.
Where can I get a Cohabitation Agreement?
Fortunately, you can buy a Cohabitation Agreement on this website for a fraction of the cost a lawyer would charge. It’s lawyer-prepared, customizable, and comes with a ton of free guidance. It may include, for example, affidavits of execution (showing the witnesses were present when the couple signed and then signed after them). It will also include a Schedule of financial disclosure. It may also include an Acknowledgment (in the case of an Alberta Cohabitation Agreement that survives marriage).
Remember: all of our legal forms are lawyer-prepared, customizable (they come in .doc, .wpd, and .rtf formats), and affordable (prices range from $17 to $97, depending on the legal form packages). The legal forms are regularly updated. Best of all, they come with guidance in the form of a video tutorial (watch an example of how to customize the legal form) and two written guides (one that addresses the legal issues you should be aware of and a second which is entitled “Is My Legal Form Valid and Enforceable?”).
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