Cohabitation Agreements are agreements made by the parties pursuant to section 53 of the Family Law Act. It is signed by the parties who live together outside of marriage, also known as common law spouses.
Usually, Cohabitation Agreements define parties’ property rights and obligations, set up a property regime which will be followed by the parties during the entire relationship and upon the relationship breakdown, address issues of support, etc.
A Cohabitation Agreement is a contract, and, as a result, a number of conditions and rules apply to the preparation and execution of a valid and binding agreement. Only an experienced lawyer can provide a sound legal advice with respect to same.
Same as with Separation and Marriage Agreements, full financial disclosure by both parties is crucial before a Cohabitation Agreement is executed. Financial disclosure will ensure that the parties enter into a fair agreement, or, that, at the very least, the parties are fully informed before waiving any of their entitlements under the Cohabitation Agreement. It may be difficult to change or set aside a properly executed Cohabitation Agreement later in Court.
It is important to understand that if either one or both parties do not provide full and accurate financial disclosure, the Court may set aside some sections of the Agreement or the entire Cohabitation Agreement, if it finds that the non-disclosure led to an innocent party making an uniformed choice with respect to his or her rights or obligations under the Agreement, and that, had that party known the full extent of the financial circumstances of the other party, the innocent party would have likely acted differently with respect to agreeing to the terms of the Cohabitation Agreement.