Cohabitation refers to partners living together without marriage. In Calgary, many couples choose this arrangement, sharing assets and expenses without a formal wedding.
However, while married couples have clear legal guidelines during divorce, cohabiting pairs’ paths are less defined. To avoid complications during potential separations, it’s wise to have a legal document detailing the division of assets and debts, ensuring both parties’ rights are safeguarded.
Hiring a lawyer with plenty of experience in cohabitation agreements is crucial. When it comes to navigating the complex world of divorce, at Jones Divorce & Family Law, our lawyers can offer insights on securing an optimal resolution for your case.
We understand the emotional and legal challenges that come with the possible dissolution of a marriage, and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.
About Cohabitation Agreement
A cohabitation agreement is akin to a marriage contract (often termed “prenuptial” or “postnuptial” agreements) but is for partners who co-live without being wed.
It typically outlines how assets, debts, and properties are divided should the relationship end. These agreements are recognized by Alberta courts, even outside “common-law” marriages, as long as they’re properly drafted.
For matters concerning property within such agreements, the Family Property Act of Alberta (FPA Alberta) serves as the primary reference point.
Why Consider A Cohabitation Agreement?
Cohabitation agreements provide clarity and assurance for unmarried couples, safeguarding individual assets and finances if the relationship ends. Since separations can be contentious, with disputes about asset division, having a pre-established agreement helps prevent conflicts during calmer times. Key benefits include:
It offers a framework for a smoother separation, avoiding emotional and financial strains.
Protection for Children
For couples with kids, it ensures fewer conflicts, fostering healthier family dynamics post-separation.
Safeguard for Business Owners
Those with business interests can protect their enterprises against potential division or claims.
In essence, it’s a proactive approach to managing potential challenges in a relationship’s future.
In such scenarios, partnering with a divorce lawyer skilled in handling cohabitation agreements and well-versed in Canadian family law is crucial. An attorney with this expertise will help you create a binding legal document.
Who Should Consider a Cohabitation Agreement Contract?
Whether it’s property, significant savings, or businesses, those who own assets individually or jointly benefit from clear separation terms.
This includes couples with shared children, those with kids from previous relationships, or those who want to protect a family farm or business.
When there’s a notable income gap or when one partner has substantial debt, an agreement can outline responsibilities and protections.
While cohabiting couples in Alberta receive some automatic legal protections, a cohabitation agreement strengthens these.
It’s wise to draft an agreement when the relationship is harmonious, as disputes become harder to navigate once tensions rise. Reaching out to a divorce lawyer for guidance is strongly recommended.
How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help
In Alberta, a cohabitation agreement’s validity hinges on the Family Property Act. Both partners must fully grasp the agreement’s implications, acknowledge potential property claims under the FPA Alberta, and enter the agreement without coercion. It’s crucial to seek independent legal advice for both parties to ensure alignment with Alberta laws.
Our divorce lawyers specialize in crafting cohabitation agreements that meet these standards.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cohabitation Agreement
Who needs a cohabitation agreement?
If you’re in a relationship and living together, a cohabitation agreement clarifies asset division should things end. It’s best created before blending finances and assets. Such agreements are especially beneficial for:
- Asset Owners
- Family Considerations
- Financial Disparities
- Legal Protections
What can be included in a cohabitation agreement?
In Alberta, cohabitation agreements provide tailored financial guidelines for couples living together without marriage. These agreements typically address the division of pre-existing and new assets, the handling of debts, housing arrangements, and responsibilities regarding children from any relationship.
Consulting with individual lawyers ensures a thorough and equitable agreement.
Do we need lawyers for a cohabitation agreement?
It’s generally a good idea for each partner to seek independent legal advice when drafting a cohabitation agreement. It’s crucial to seek independent legal advice for both parties to ensure alignment with Alberta laws.
Can a cohabitation agreement be changed or cancelled?
Yes, a cohabitation agreement can typically be modified or terminated, but this usually requires the consent of both parties and may involve a formal process. Consult a legal professional for specifics in your jurisdiction.
What happens if we don’t have a cohabitation agreement?
Without a cohabitation agreement, the division of assets, property, and other shared responsibilities will be governed by the default laws in your jurisdiction, which may not always produce an outcome that you consider fair or equitable.
What is the difference between a cohabitation agreement and marriage in Alberta?
In Alberta, a cohabitation agreement is a legal document for couples living together without marriage, outlining their financial rights and obligations should the relationship end.
On the other hand, marriage is a legally recognized union that automatically grants couples certain rights and obligations under Alberta’s Family Law Act. While marriage offers universal legal recognition, cohabitation agreements provide tailored protections based on the couple’s wishes.
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