October 2, 2023


Parenting News

Cohabitation And Marriage Agreements. Your Most Frequent Questions Answered.

5 min read

Cohabitation and Marriage Agreements will be overwhelming for those who don’t know the place to begin.  As a household lawyer working towards in BC I’m steadily requested many questions on marriage agreements.  I’m hopeful that this text will allow you to by answering the commonest questions I get requested by mates, relations, present and potential purchasers.

Do I actually need a cohabitation settlement or marriage settlement?

As household legal professionals, we can not make this determination for you and everybody’s wants are distinctive. When you perceive the fundamental assumptions inside household regulation throughout a separation, corresponding to 50/50 cut up of belongings and debt acquired throughout the relationship, together with improve in worth on something introduced into or acquired throughout the relationship by inheritance or reward, or potential spousal assist entitlements payable, and people determinations don’t sit effectively with you- you SHOULD get a cohabitation settlement or marriage settlement.

Why? Marriage Agreements will let you higher management how your property will probably be divided and the way a lot spousal assist could also be payable by both accomplice ought to your relationship breakdown. These Agreements are additionally meant to acknowledge what every accomplice is bringing into the connection, how any improve in worth will probably be handled, how presents, inheritances, settlements, windfalls, and even how pets will probably be handled. You’ll be able to regain management of the method and set a framework for the way all the pieces will probably be handled.

Are marriage agreements well worth the paper they’re printed on?


To assist be certain that the Cohabitation or Marriage Settlement is enforceable and that the Courtroom is not going to overturn it or discover the contents considerably unfair to both individual, the next must be thought of:

  1. be very thorough and embody as a lot element as doable about every accomplice’s present and potential monetary future;
  2. rent a lawyer that makes a speciality of household regulation to draft the Settlement;
  3. present full monetary disclosure;
  4. embody a assessment clause that offers the events an opportunity to make revisions periodically, if you’ll really do a assessment;
  5. if both occasion has a really excessive present or potential web price, embody some degree of property division;
  6. if there are kids or plans for youngsters, embody some degree of spousal assist; and
  7. each events ought to have unbiased authorized recommendation from their very own separate lawyer.

When you comply with the rules listed above, you’ll keep away from lots of the pitfalls which have traditionally made these Agreements unenforceable up to now.

This seems like a variety of work, the place do I even begin?

Begin with a dialog. The very best place to begin is to have a really mature and open dialog along with your accomplice about every of your values, monetary objectives, and in the end the imaginative and prescient you every have of your future collectively. Ideally, you’ll have these conversations early within the relationship that will help you to find out in case you have a appropriate plan along with your potential long-term accomplice. The earlier you’ve got these conversations, the better it’s to find out in case your values and objectives line up.

When you perceive each of your intentions and have agreed {that a} cohabitation settlement or marriage settlement matches the wants of your relationship, certainly one of it is best to rent a lawyer to begin drafting the Settlement. This lawyer will assist reply your entire questions and be certain that your intentions are captured throughout the Settlement.

What if I’m already married or thought of common-law, do I’ve choices?


Cohabitation agreements and marriage agreements will be entered into at any time within the relationship together with earlier than you progress in collectively, after residing collectively for 2 years, and even after being married for any period of time. Nonetheless, the issue with these Agreements is that they’re more durable to barter for the reason that rights and duties granted by the laws are already in impact. Thus, there could also be much less incentive for both occasion to signal relying on their respective monetary place.  For relationships of quick length, particularly with out kids, there should still be negotiating room, however for those who’ve been in a relationship for 10 years, negotiations are going to be totally dependent upon the goodwill of each events concerned.

How do I do know if I’m in a common-law relationship?

Many individuals have no idea if their relationship is taken into account common-law. The definition of a common-law relationship varies inside Canada.

Federally, people are thought of common-law in the event that they reside collectively in a marital relationship and should not married, for interval of 12 or extra steady months (or for CRA functions have a baby collectively). That is related for submitting your taxes however shouldn’t be the definition throughout the context of household regulation.

Provincially, every province has a unique definition. In British Columbia, a person is in a common-law relationship in the event that they:

  1. reside collectively in a wedding like relationship for at the least 2 years; or
  2. Though they aren’t common-law, and can’t apply for property division underneath the Household Regulation Act, a pair who’ve a baby collectively are thought of spouses for the aim of spousal assist.

Is there legally a distinction between being common-law and being married?

The distinction between the 2 has change into much less apparent after the Household Relations Act was changed with the Family Law Act in 2013. That is the piece of laws that governs household regulation inside British Columbia.

With this alteration in laws, common-law spouses had the identical rights and duties as married spouses. This was a progressive change that positioned the next worth on the contributions of a common-law partner to the connection and allowed for extra equality within the absence of marriage.

The true distinction is that when the connection breaks down, married {couples} should search a proper divorce by the Supreme Courtroom of British Columbia, whereas common-law spouses can separate with out formal enter from the Courtroom. There are additionally variations within the limitation durations set on each for once they can search spousal assist or division of property reduction from the Courtroom.

This course of doesn’t must be overwhelming. We’re right here to reply any questions you will have about acquiring a cohabitation or marriage settlement. It’s higher to know your choices after which determine the place to go from there. Name 604-974-9529 or get in contact.



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