A cohabitation agreement is a legal contract that defines the division of assets and spousal support when a common-law relationship comes to an end. It is important to note that the definition of “common-law” varies from province to province in Canada, and can be difficult to determine. A relationship is considered common law in Alberta when a couple has lived together for a continuous period of not less than three (3) years (see Adult Interdependent Relationships Act).The Canada Revenue Agency considers you to be in a common-law relationship when you have cohabited for 12 months. The question of when you are considered to be “common law” depends on the circumstances. As a general guideline to protect yourself, it is best to assume that you are in a common-law relationship as soon as you move in together.
Should we get a cohabitation agreement when we move in together?
The answer to this very common question depends on several factors, and the evaluation of each is complex. Is property involved? Are there children involved? Is one partner’s income greater than the other? These are incredibly important factors that should be carefully discussed with your partner before you start packing boxes and signing a lease together. Unfortunately, many couples do not think this far ahead and can find themselves in troubling circumstances if the relationship does come to an end. A cohabitation agreement can serve as a tool to protect you and your partner and its value should not be overlooked.
Creating a Cohabitation Agreement
Jones Divorce Mediation Inc. can assist cohabiting parties or parties intending to cohabit to reach mutually agreeable terms regarding the division of their property and possibly the amount of spousal support payable in the event of a separation. By predetermining these issues, people have the ability to avoid future costly and stressful litigation. Cohabitation agreements can also be used to protect income, resolve debt issues, protect inheritance and other exemptions, protect a family business, customize a settlement and avoid uncertainty.
We can assist you with creating a cohabitation agreement – the process is fairly straightforward and simple. Our team can provide more details during a complimentary consultation. Click here to book your consultation and learn more about creating a cohabitation agreement and if a cohabitation agreement is right for you. If you have specific questions, leave a comment for us below.