Cohabitation & Separation Agreements
Cohabitation agreements are contracts that allow common-law spouses to protect their rights when cohabitating as a non-married couple. Comparable to a marriage contract (commonly referred to as a “prenup”) for common-law spouses, a cohabitation agreement will typically outline specific provisions in the event of the breakdown of the relationship. Common provisions include:
Determining the financial support one partner may provide for spousal support.
Establishing the division of property between the couple.
Addressing the question of who will vacate the shared home.
However, these agreements do not include any decision-making authority or parenting time regarding any children from the relationship.
To ensure the legal validity of a cohabitation agreement, both partners must sign it in the presence of a witness, who must also sign the document. Once signed, both partners are obligated to abide by the terms outlined in the agreement. If modifications to the contract or agreement are desired, they can be negotiated in writing and subsequently signed in the presence of a witness.
Disputing the terms of an agreement
Where one party disputes the terms of the agreement, parties can negotiate to reach an agreement on amending terms. However, if no new agreement can be made, it may require court intervention to find a resolution where the judge makes the decision.
Before signing a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract, it is recommended that both partners seek independent legal counsel and disclose their financial information to ensure an informed and fair decision-making process.
A separation agreement is applicable to both married and unmarried couples. It serves as a formal written contract between two individuals who are either in the process of separating or have already done so.
Why choose a separation agreement with a lawyer?
Opting for a separation agreement offers numerous benefits when compared to the conventional court process, such as formally documenting financial agreements, more cost-effectiveness, and shorter timelines. It can reduce the stress and tension for the parties involved.
When you make a separation agreement, it is important to ensure it will be legally valid. This means that if someone tries to dispute it in court, the court will support and enforce the agreement. To increase the chances of this happening, both parties should get advice from separate lawyers before agreeing. It's also crucial for both parties to openly share their financial situations to safeguard the agreement from being questioned later on.
We strongly recommend using a family lawyer for this process to avoid the risk of improperly negotiated agreements due to two main reasons. It is more challenging to rectify an improperly negotiated separation agreement than it is to draft a new one. We frequently encounter clients who willingly accept terms that deviate from their rightful entitlements when self-representing.
We can assist you in avoiding these risks by playing a role as a channel during negotiations or providing preliminary legal advice in advance of any negotiations.
We are here to help
INB Family Law is here to provide the guidance, support, and expertise you need to protect your rights and achieve fair outcomes. Our team of experienced family lawyers can help you through every step of the process, whether through alternative dispute resolution methods or court representation. If you need legal assistance with your family law matter, do not hesitate to contact us at 905-215-1905 for a consultation.