Cohabitation or Marriage agreement



Although you are not legally required to enter into a cohabitation or marriage agreement, it might be a good idea to do so.  Many couples are now opting to enter into these agreements prior to living together or getting married.  These types of agreements are becoming increasingly popular.

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial – or marriage - agreement.  It is intended for couples who want to live together but are not yet, or do not plan to, get married.  In British Columbia, common-law spouses have the same rights as married partners.

A cohabitation agreement is intended to protect your personal property.  It allows you to decide in advance who will keep what assets and what will happen to assets that have been purchased together I the event that your relationship ends.

If you have lived together for at least two years in a marriage-like relationship, the courts of this province will treat you the same as they would a married couple.  This applies to the division of property and other assets, as well as family debts.

When dealing with spousal support, you have the same rights as common law spouses if you have lived together for less than two years but have a child or children together.

Marriage agreements are for legally married couples.  They should be made prior to your legal wedding date.  Marriage agreements usually deal with things that will happen during the marriage and address what should happen if the marriage ends.

Your marriage agreement should deal with issues such as: ownership of property during the marriage and upon separation, the increase in value of joint property, excluded property, inheritances, household bills and expenses and savings for retirement.

Marriage agreements are used in a wide variety of circumstances.  They are typically used when:

  • You or your spouse have a substantial amount of property obtained prior to marriage

  • You or your spouse have incurred a substantial amount of debt prior to marriage

  • You or your spouse is expecting a substantial inheritance

  • You or your spouse have children from a previous relationship

  • You want to avoid the conflict and cost of a potentially lengthy separation should the marriage come to an end

It is never comfortable to think about a relationship ending when you are entering into it.  However, life does not always go as planned.  It is important to make sure that you and your spouse are properly protected should the unthinkable happen.

If you are considering a co-habitation or marriage agreement, call the lawyers at Sarah Leamon Law Group to learn how they can help.