Cohab FAQs Answered

General

What is a cohabitation agreement?

It is a contract between unmarried partners – known as a common law couple – that sets out their legal rights and obligation when their relationship ends, either due to separation or death.

We are already cohabiting. Can we enter into a cohabitation agreement?

Yes you can. In fact, this is more common than you might think it is. For instance, if one spouse is about to enter a business, their partners may require them to do this. As a precondition to entering the partnership, a person may be required to enter into a cohabitation agreement stating that if they separate or pass away, their spouse will not make a claim on the business. This will allow the partners to be assured that a separation does not interfere with their business.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

It depends on what you are looking for. You can see our fees here.

Do we need lawyers?

Sure, sure, we are lawyers so we recommend spending a lot of money on legal fees, right? Not at all! In fact, we are big proponents of self-help in law. However, with cohabitation agreements, the process of entering into them is as important as the actual content of the agreement.

So, if you don’t use a lawyer, a court can set aside your cohabitation agreement on the grounds that your partner did not understand what he or she was signing, or did not understand what his or her legal rights were, or was pressured into signing the contract. A lawyer will protect you against these things – a lawyer will explain what the agreement means, what the person’s family law legal rights are, and inquire into the circumstances surrounding the desire to enter into the contract. This is known as independent legal advice.

What happens to our cohabitation agreement if we marry?

Unless you specify to the contrary in your cohabitation agreement (and many couples choose to do so), your cohabitation agreement automatically becomes a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) upon marriage.

Does a Cohabitation Agreement need to be notarized?

No, a cohabitation agreement does NOT get notarized. A cohabitation agreement only needs to be witnessed by another adult. You should not be around while your partner is signing the cohabitation agreement, and your partner should not be around while you are signing the cohabitation agreement. You and your partner should use different witnesses.

 

I have a question not answered above
No problem! Just email us on our contact form and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

You’re Invited to Call or E-Mail!

If you’re considering a cohabitation agreement — or have already made your decision — you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain for free how you can protect your assets and plan your estate. You can call us toll-free at (800) 407-2570 or email us using our contact form here. We can help you anywhere in Ontario, including Ottawa, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, and Hamilton.

Comments

  1. I found out that it is technically illegal to live with someone your not married to especially if they have a child. If my girlfriend is divorced, would getting a cohabitation agreement make it legal so she wouldnt lose her child? Her ex husband has made it clear he would press the issue if we attempt to move in together and I’m not ready for marriage so I need to know how to protect her child from this.

  2. Avatar Hilda Agyei says

    Hi

    I would like to set up cohabitation agreement form.

    please contact me

    Hilda

  3. Want an agreement between my boy frind and I …we live together we bought a house but his name is on it because we could not use mine..but I paid down payment and most bills… now I want an agreement that in the event of his death i get the house and contents …contents are all mine to begin with….he has a daughter that hates me and im afraid if he were to die ,I would loose everyhting I worked so hard for….also an agreement in case I die that he would get all content in the house…cause my mother would try to get everyhting to sell it…..can this be done?

    • @Paulette – A cohabitation agreement can require that your boyfriend leave the house and its contents to you in his will (and vice versa – that you leave the house and its contents to him.

  4. Avatar Elizabeth Anne Krupop says

    Hello,

    I am interested in the process of the requirements in order to produce a cohabitation agreement in Canada in the province of Ontario.

    Sincerely,

    Elizabeth A, Krupop

    • @Elizabeth, I’ve added in a page to answer this:
      http://www.cohabitationagreement.ca/process/

    • Avatar Judith Greencorn says

      My boyfriend is building an addition to his sons house and is going to live in the new addition. The plan was that I sell my house and live with him when he has completed it. He is 69 years old and I am 65. I keep the proceeds from the sale of my house. Would a cohabit agreement work for us both as we will be sharing food and utilities and not paying rent. Also in event of his death his son decides he wants me out of there for whatever reason what legal recourse would I have?

      • cohablawyer cohablawyer says

        @Judith – Yes, you will be cohabiting, so a cohabitation agreement is applicable in your situation. As for staying in the addition in the event of his death, it sounds like he does not own the house, in which case, he would only have the rights of a tenant. If it were a home that he owned, then in a cohabitation agreement you could deal with staying there after he passes away.

  5. Is the bronze package for $59 a do-it yourself form or are those free?

    • @Julie – They are do it yourself forms. The package comes with a template in Word format that shows what needs to be done to personalize it. The package also comes with instructions as to what each provision of the agreement means, and what you need to do to complete your agreement.

  6. How much is it to review an already written cohabitation agreement by the other party to ensure it is fair?

  7. is a cohab contract legally binded if it only protects one person, and not both parties. i had to sign one in order to prove that i love my boyfriend but it does not protect me it only states that if i leave him i have to pay his bills and i have to leave all my contents thus all the contents in the house does not belong to me but it belongs to my mother, i am not allowed to take anything with me if i leave, i have been abused by him emotionally and physically. i have no way out and if the contract so is binding where does it leave me there was no witnesses that signed the contract, i also dont have a copy he refused to give me a copy. i need help please i need to know my rights

  8. cohablawyer cohablawyer says

    @Tanya – If both parties have a lawyer then the cohabitation agreement is likely valid. It does not sound like that was the case in your situation. You will need to retain a lawyer to look at the agreement and also discuss the circumstances surrounding the signing of the agreement to determine whether your agreement is valid.

  9. The main thing I wanted to clarify is the necessity of the cohabitation agreement. It looks like couples who are co-habitating don’t have the same rights as married couples and therefore don’t have a right to claim an equal proportion of combined assets if they were to separate so this type of agreement seems more useful for couples who want to ensure they have the same rights as a married couple.

    The main reason my son is considering a cohabitation agreement is because his girlfriend is planning to move into the house he currently lives in which is owned by his grandmother (eventually he will inherit 50%) and he has an investment portfolio which we want to ensure is protected. Since he and his girlfriend both work and plan to keep their assets separate and his girlfriend will be paying rent, is this agreement necessary at this stage since they don’t have a right to each other’s assets anyways? Does it make more sense to wait until they are considering marriage before entering into an agreement if they want to protect their assets accumulated prior to marriage? Or is there some reason to do it now?

    • @Lily – In the short run, you are correct. The default for common law couples is that each party keeps his or her own assets. However, the longer a relationship is, or the more “marriage-like” a relationship is (e.g. the couple has children), the more likely a court is to find that one party has been unjustly enriched and award assets to the other spouse. So, for instance, if they were common law for 25 years, raised children together, and intermingled their finances, chances are high that a court would divide assets close to what it would be if they had been married. A home is particularly vulnerable to equal division, because no matter what role a person plays in a relationship, the home is likely involved (e.g. if his girlfriend cleaned the home for many years, this could give her a claim to the home once he owns it).

      There is also the issue of spousal support. Once the two of them have lived together for 3 years, spousal support would be payable as if they are married, so if your son is earning (or expecting to earn) significantly more than his girlfriend, he would be liable for that without a cohabitation agreement.

      If they waited a year or two to get the cohabitation agreement, chances are very good that from a legal point of view, that would make no difference. From a practical point of view it often is easier to start the process at the beginning rather than after living together for a while.

  10. I am looking for some advise on an issue, i bought my house last year and now my fiance is moving in with me. My parents want us to get a rental agreement, but i would like to have a co-habitation agreement in place instead. Just looking for your advise on which one to go with, my parents would prefer rental but i just want to make sure everything is fair even though i was the one who bought the house. Thank you for you time.

    • Yes, it is a cohabitation agreement you need because you and your fiancé are in a conjugal relationship. A rental agreement will not deal with family law rights and obligations that arise from you and your fiancé living together.

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