There was a time when few couples would consider moving in together without first getting married. Times have of course changed and now it is socially acceptable for couples to define their relationship in this way, without the formal union.
While some couples may like the idea of being able to split without initiating a divorce, in Alberta the decision to not marry could have a negative impact on one or both of the parties to the relationship. This is because married spouses enjoy certain rights that couples who cohabitate do not. Fortunately, there are steps that couples engaged in common-law relationships can take to protect themselves. Most notably, to create a cohabitation agreement.
Cohabitating agreements, which are entered into by both parties willingly, can set out how the couple would like to have their assets divided should they decide to end their relationship. In addition, it could also provide for one party to receive spousal support should the relationship come to an end. Creating this type of agreement can make a split easier, as well as protect those who should the relationship end, become financially vulnerable.
The key to drafting a good cohabitation agreement is of course to work with a lawyer who has a thorough understanding of the steps that need to be taken to achieve the goals of a couple. We understand the importance of listening to our clients and know how to transfer their wishes into a cohabitation agreement. To learn more, please see our cohabitation agreement webpage.