Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation Agreement Lawyers Serving Sherwood Park & Edmonton

It is increasingly common for couples to live together without getting married. While this arrangement can be convenient for many people, it can create complications if the couple decides to separate and they have shared property, a business, or other complex assets. In this situation, it is important to have a clear understanding of each individual’s rights and responsibilities. By outlining these details in a cohabitation agreement, both parties can have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations and can avoid potential conflicts in the future.

Who Can Have a Cohabitation Agreement in Alberta?

In Alberta, a cohabitation agreement can be entered by any two individuals in an adult interdependent relationship (“AIRA”).

To be considered in an adult interdependent relationship, the individuals must share each other’s lives, be emotionally committed to each other, and function as an economic and domestic unit. In addition, they must either have lived together for at least three years or have a child together. Alternatively, they can enter into a written adult interdependent partner agreement and register it with the government. These qualifications confer certain rights and obligations on the individuals involved, including the right to make medical decisions for each other and the obligation to provide support to each other.

In order to create a cohabitation agreement, both parties must sign the agreement in front of a witness as well as be open and honest about their financial situations. There cannot be any threats or pressure when it comes to signing this agreement. It is important to note that only individuals who are 18 years of age or older can enter into a cohabitation agreement.

If you are considering entering into a cohabitation agreement, it is a good idea to seek independent legal advice and be represented by separate lawyers. This can help to ensure that your individual interests are protected and that the agreement is legally binding. While it is possible to write your own cohabitation agreement, having a lawyer review the document can provide added reassurance that your rights and responsibilities are clearly outlined.

What is Included in a Cohabitation Agreement?

Items included in cohabitation agreements are very similar to prenuptial agreements. Anything legal can be included, but most commonly, the items are: 

  • Division of shared assets and property. 
  • The exclusion of certain property from division. 
  • The division of debts. 
  • Payment of expenses during the relationship. 
  • Establish custody of children and visiting rights. 
  • Payment of spousal support. 
  • Delegation of decision making for education and moral decisions for children. 
  • Anything that both parties agree to have entered in the document (given that it is legal).

Why Do I Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

Without a cohabitation agreement, the laws governing property division and support can be complex and may not align with the couple’s wishes. The attraction of cohabitation agreements is the peace of mind and legal protection they bring.

Without a cohabitation agreement, individuals in an adult interdependent relationship may face legal complications and uncertainty in the event of a separation or breakup. Without a clear understanding of their rights and obligations, one partner may be able to claim ownership of shared assets or be held responsible for debts accrued during the relationship.

This can be particularly important when it comes to the ownership of property, such as a shared home that has undergone renovations. A cohabitation agreement can ensure that both partners are fairly compensated for any contributions they have made to the property and its value.

Additionally, a cohabitation agreement can prevent one partner from unjustly profiting from the relationship and can establish custody arrangements and decision-making responsibilities for couples with children.

Entering into a cohabitation agreement when a relationship is healthy can provide a sense of security and stability for both parties.

Who Should Have a Cohabitation Agreement?

Having a cohabitation agreement can be beneficial for both individuals in an adult interdependent relationship. It can provide legal protections and can help to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts in the future. It is a good idea for couples who meet the qualifications for this type of relationship to have a cohabitation agreement in place to ensure that both individuals are protected and their expectations are clear.

It is important to understand that a cohabitation agreement does not address child support or child custody issues. These agreements are designed to provide legal protection and clarity when it comes to the division of finances and property. If you have children and want to ensure that their interests are protected, you may need to seek additional legal advice or create a separate agreement.

Who Can’t Have a Cohabitation Agreement?

The Adult Interdependent Relationships Act stipulates the following as disqualifying you from entering into a cohabitation agreement:

A person may not enter into an adult interdependent partner agreement if the person

  • Is a party to an existing adult interdependent partner agreement,
  • Is married, or
  • Is a minor, unless the minor is at least 16 years of age and the minor’s guardians have given their prior written consent.

Is a Cohabitation Agreement Equal to a Prenuptial Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, but there are some key differences. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that is created by a couple before they get married, and it outlines how their assets and property will be divided in the event of a divorce.

Contact Kurie Moore Law Group Today

It may not be pleasant to think about the possibility of a breakup while you are in a happy relationship, but having a cohabitation agreement in place can provide important protections and clarity for individuals in an adult interdependent relationship. It is best to have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer draft this type of agreement to ensure that it is thorough and legally binding.

Our team at Kurie Moore Law Group is here if you have any questions about common-law relationships and cohabitation agreements.