Moving in with a partner can be a very exciting time, but many people do not realize how it affects their rights when it comes to assets, income, and children (present and/or future). Common-law couples (heterosexual and same-sex) share the same rights as married couples.
People can protect themselves with a Cohabitation Agreement.
Cohabitation Agreements are made before people move in together, but they can also be made between partners who are already living together. It is in the best interest of both parties to do this as soon as possible.
What are the goals of a Cohabitation Agreement?
- To ensure that both parties understand what their legal rights and obligations are.
- To help protect individual assets, income, and children.
- To have a plan in place should couples separate, or if someone passes away.
What are the top reasons for getting a Cohabitation Agreement?
(1) To protect property – Outline what property can be split and how it will be split, whether it was bought prior to cohabitating or not.
(2) To protect wealth – If one of the parties is earning more or is wealthier, they do not have to worry about losing what they have worked so hard for.
(3) To protect inheritances
(4) To agree how joint debts will be paid
(5) To indicate whether or not spousal support will be paid
(6) To protect businesses – If there is no Cohabitation Agreement in place, one party could end up owning part of their partner’s business.
(7) To protect estate plans – To ensure that assets are distributed properly and to prevent one another from overturning the other’s estate plan.
It is very important that both parties get independent legal advice about what exactly their Cohabitation Agreement means to prevent complications down the road.
A Cohabitation Agreement turns into to a Marriage Agreement once the couple marries.
Have questions about Cohabitation Agreements in BC? Contact Clean Divorce today for a FREE 20-minute initial consultation. Serving clients in Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and the rest of the Lower Mainland.