Moving in with your significant other?

A young couple discussing getting a cohabitation agreement from the lawyers at West Legal in Calgary

Why you need a Cohabitation Agreement

Couples often put off getting a cohabitation agreement because of the costs involved, the emotional stress of bringing it up with their partner and the fear that it will signal a lack of commitment to the relationship.

Thinking of moving in with your significant other?

Moving in with your partner? Get a Cohabitation Agreement first. While these concerns are valid, they are outweighed by the risks of not having a cohabitation agreement in place. If your relationship breaks down, it’s helpful to have a contract that sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party to the relationship. Without a cohabitation agreement, you may find yourself paying for a mortgage you didn’t want in the first place, your partner may claim a share of your investments or you might lose access to a shared pet. Without a cohabitation agreement in place to guide the process, dividing property between partners often results in significant time, hassle, legal fees and even court time.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement sets out the rights and obligations of parties who live together in respect to property, support, and monthly bills. A Cohabitation Agreement provides a clear framework of the parties’ expectations for one another while they live together and in the event that they decide to stop living together.

Are cohabitation agreements only for people in romantic relationships?

No! You do not need to be in a romantic relationship with the person you are living with to enter into a cohabitation agreement. Speak to a lawyer about the specifics of your relationship to determine if entering into a cohabitation agreement is in your best interests.

“It could never happen to me!

While it’s uncomfortable to contemplate the demise of a healthy relationship, it’s important to think of a cohabitation agreement like an insurance policy. You hope to never get in a car accident and use your car insurance, but you wouldn’t even think about driving without it. Once your cohabitation agreement is signed, you can put it away and forget about it. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but having it gives you the assurance that assets will be divided fairly if the relationship dissolves.

Cohabitation agreements are also helpful before and during the relationship even if the relationship doesn’t dissolve. An effective cohabitation agreement names the assets each partner brings into the relationship and addresses how those assets will be maintained during the relationship. It also contemplates whether assets will be divided upon separation, who is responsible for joint and individual debts, how jointly acquired assets will be divided, how bills and expenses will be shared during the relationship, whether partners will be entitled to spousal support, who will retain the shared home and any other matters agreed upon by the partners.

Contact us today.

Once a cohabitation agreement is drafted, each partner will obtain independent legal advice to ensure that the agreement doesn’t unfairly favour one cohabitant over the other. The family lawyers at West Legal can provide you with valuable cohabitation advice and draft a cohabitation agreement that meets your needs for a reasonable, flat-rate fee.

Contact a Calgary Family Lawyer today or 403-723-0175 to get started.

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