You’ve met the ideal mate, your relationship has blossomed and the natural next step is living together. Life is perfect, until a well-meaning friend asks if you have a cohabitation agreement. Suddenly you are feeling confused. After all, it is not like you are getting married. There is no formality here; you are just “moving in” together. So what is all this about a “cohabitation agreement”?
A cohabitation agreement is a legal document which outlines how certain affairs will be handled when the couple is together, and in the case of break-up or death. These details require significant attention, and are best considered early in the relationship. Should the relationship end in break-up or death, you or you partner may not have legal entitlement to the rights and benefits you think. A cohabitation agreement is ideally created before a couple enters into an intimate living arrangement, (cohabitation), however may be done afterward.
A cohabitation agreement takes the uncertainty out of important matters that couples must deal with including:
- Assets of each partner
- Debts of each partner
- Shared assets
- Shared debt
- Asset and debt ownership and distribution on breakup or death
- Financial responsibilities of each partner
- Sharing of credit cards or bank accounts
- Certain rights and responsibilities for children
Disagreements and misunderstandings regarding financial issues create major problems for many couples. A cohabitation agreement lays the ground rules acceptable to each partner. Should the couple marry, the agreement can become a marriage contract. Should the couple separate or one partner die, a well laid out cohabitation agreement clearly defines the wishes of the partners. Without this document, important decisions may be left in the impersonal and costly hands of the court.
The details of each couple’s situation must be taken into account. The resulting document must be fair, equitable and mutually agreeable to the partners. This requires full financial disclosure, honesty and long term decision making. Any important undertaking requires planning to increase potential for success. Our cohabitation agreement lawyers in Woodbridge and Vaughan simplify the process, step by step helping you create this valuable agreement, sort of like a business plan for you relationship.