Cohabitation Agreements

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A Cohabitation Agreement, is a legal agreement reached between a couple who have chosen to live together in a spousal like relationship, and have chosen not to marry. The content of a Cohabitation Agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support if the couple separates.

If your cohabitation agreement deals with property, it is subject to the Family Property Act of Alberta. Section 38 of the Family Property Act (“FPA Alberta”) provides that your agreement is enforceable only if you and your spouse each have acknowledged in front of your independent lawyers that:

  • you are aware of the nature and effect of the agreement;
  • you are aware of the possible future claims to property that you have under the FPA Alberta and you are willing to give up those claims to the extent necessary to give effect to the agreement; and
  • you are executing the agreement freely and voluntarily without any compulsion on the part of the other spouse; and
  • you acknowledge the above noted in front of your lawyer who is separate and independent from your spouse’s lawyer.
  • A lawyer’s legal advice obligation includes advising you and your spouse about standard disclosure and how the law would treat your situation in the event you separated. Learn more

Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

If you and your beloved want greater certainty and predictability regarding how your property and finances will be treated in the event you separate, then you should enter into a legal and enforceable Cohabitation Agreement.

A Cohabitation Agreement is strongly recommended if any of the following situations apply to you:

  • You own property, either individually or in joint names.
  • You have a significant amount of assets that you have accumulated and continue to accumulate.
  • You have a business and would want certainty and predictability regarding your business in the event of your separation.
  • You have a farm and/or have an interest in a family farm that you would want to preserve and protect in the event of your separation
  • You have a pension and are continuing to accumulate the pension while living together.
  • You have been living together for a short period of time and have had children together.

Couples who are living together often do not want to engage in any level of formality regarding their relationship. They often fear addressing how they would want their property and finances to be divided if they separated. However if they do not address these questions in an open and honest way now, when their relationship is good, it will be much more difficult to address later if they are in the middle of splitting up.

As a trained Collaborative Family Law lawyer and Life Coach, Beryl McNeill has extensive experience in facilitating an open and honest discussion with respect to these issues, and will help you create a legal enforceable Cohabitation Agreement that provides your relationship with financial certainty and predictability.

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Call 587-956-9300 or fill out the form below to book a consultation.