5 Reasons Why You Should Have a Cohabitation Agreement

Do I need a cohabitation agreement? You and your assets are always better protected if you have a cohabitation agreement. However, there are situations in which it is especially important to have a cohabitation agreement.

1. To prevent your partner from overturning your estate plan. In many provinces your parnter has certain family law rights that override any estate plans you have made, and that can result in expensive litigation. A cohabitation agreement is an essential part of an estate plan, because it ensures that your assets are distributed as you want them to be when you pass away.

2. You cohabit in a province without a statutory regime for the division of property for common law partners. The laws of property division relating to married couples do not apply to an unmarried couple in many provinces. In fact, the laws for property division for an unmarried couple are quite uncertain and complex. A cohabitation agreement will provide you and your partner with certainty as to what will happen if your relationship ends.

3. You are much wealthier than your partner. If you are significantly wealthier than your partner, or earn significantly more money, a cohabitation agreement can protect your wealth.

4. You’ve previously been married. When you’ve previously been married, your legal and financial concerns are often very different than in your first marriage. You may have children from a previous marriage, support obligations, and own a home or other significant assets. A cohabitation agreement can ensure that when you pass away, your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and that neither your first family, nor your new family are cut off.

5. You own part of a business. Without a cohabitation agreement, when your marriage ends, your partner could end up owning a share of your business. Your business partners may not want this to happen. A cohabitation agreement can ensure that your spouse does not become an unwanted partner in your business.

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.


  1. Josh Desautels says:

    Hey I’m a 25 year old male. That has just bought a home and also has a carrier in the oilfield. I’m single and I like to get a little more knowledgable on cohabitation agreements. I want to be smart about thing and keep my things that I have worked hard for. Got any advice. Marriage is overrated. I’ve watched to many guys lose there homes.

  2. @Josh – I would say half of all my cohabitation agreement clients are specifically interested in protecting their home. If you have any specific questions, please let me know and I’m happy to help.

  3. I have a question:

    My fiancé had a cohabitation agreement typed up and in one of the paragraphs it says something like if we break up I (because I earn more) may have to pay him spousal support?? What is that all about. Is that what goes in a standard cohab agreement? Confused here. I haven’t taken it to my lawyer yet to sign because I don’t understand half of it!


    • @Allison – Without a cohabitation agreement, after living together for 3 years, you would potentially have an obligation to provide spousal support. I have not seen what is written in your agreement, but likely it is just preserving your partner’s right to this.

      As for standard, there is no such thing as a “standard” cohabitation agreement. Each on is individually crafted for the couple.

      You should definitely take any cohabitation agreement to a lawyer for review.

  4. Tony Carlson says:

    I’ve recently learned that a prenuptial agreement can be overturned for a variety of reasons: signing too quickly, under duress, all assets not fully disclosed etc., etc. Can a co-habitation agreement be overturned for any of those reasons?

  5. cohablawyer cohablawyer says:

    @Tony – Those aren’t just “reasons” – those are pretty fatal flaws. Pretty much any contract can be invalidated due to duress. Full financial disclosure is required for a cohabitation agreement. I’m not sure what you mean by signing too quickly, my hand can only move my pen so fast, perhaps under time pressure? In any event, as long as you and your partner both have lawyers, and both of your lawyers sign off on it, then your cohabitation agreement will likely be valid.

  6. Would a male and female who are just room mates require a cohabitation agreement?

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Cohabitation Agreement Ontario