The Cohabitation Agreement – The ‘Prenup’ For Unmarried Couples

The Cohabitation Agreement – The ‘Prenup’ For Unmarried Couples

If you are in a common-law relationship or about to live together with a partner, you should strongly consider entering into a cohabitation agreement. This is an excellent way to safeguard your rights if your relationship goes sour. A cohabitation agreement should ideally be signed prior to moving in together. However, you may enter into one at any time

It’s difficult to discuss the end of your relationship just as it’s taking off, but life happens. It’s probably best to think about a cohabitation agreement as a preventative measure rather than something that’ll happen once you’ve already broken up.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a domestic contract that lays out the rights and obligations of the individuals if they split up. Cohabitation Agreements are similar to marriage contracts or prenuptial agreements for married couples in terms of form and content.

The agreement can describe how partners will divide their assets and liabilities. The contract may also cover day-to-day finances, such as who pays what towards rent/mortgage and property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance.

If a cohabitation agreement is made, it becomes a marriage contract if the couple marries and provides the same security as a marriage contract.

Why you should get a Cohabitation Agreement

The main aim of entering into a cohabitation agreement is to set out the rights and responsibilities of the parties when they split up. Most often, this will be used to resolve issues surrounding spousal support and property.

While there are no automatic property rights in a common law relationship, there are some limited circumstances which can give rise to property rights in a common law relationship.

Common law spouses, like married couples, are subject to spousal support obligations. If they have lived together for at least 3 years and have a kid together, they only have a spousal support obligation if they are common law spouses.

What Cannot be Included

Cohabitation agreements can’t handle issues like custody, access, or child support. After separation, issues regarding the children may only be addressed if both parties agree to it. Both parents can’t give up their rights to stay in the marital home and limit one another’s right to live there.

The Process

To form a cohabitation agreement, each partner must retain his or her own attorneys. Financial information will need to be exchanged, as well as legal advice from an independent source after signing the contract. In case any of these steps are overlooked, the chances of the agreement being challenged or reversed by a court in the future rise significantly.

NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. If you want legal assistance, please see a family lawyer.

Scroll to Top