Cohabitation Agreement Lawyers in Edmonton and Alberta
More and more couples are choosing to live together in long-term relationships without ever getting married.
Although the dissolution of a relationship is typically less complicated when no one ever said “I Do,” non-married couples have certain legal rights when it comes to the division of assets and debts.
Even though common law marriage is not recognized in Alberta, the Family Law Act gives couples in “marriage-like” relationships the same rights and obligations as couples in traditional marriages. And these rights and obligations have a significant impact on the division of property if the relationship ends.
In Alberta, any assets and debts acquired during the course of a marriage, or marriage-like relationship, are considered to be matrimonial property. As such, they must be divided equally between both parties at the end of the relationship.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement in Alberta?
When a couple lives together in a marriage-like relationship but does not plan to get married, they may wish to create something called a Cohabitation Agreement.
A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract between two people who have a marriage-like relationship but don’t actually get married.
This relationship may be unofficially deemed “common law,” or the couple may legally enter into something known as an adult interdependent relationship, in which case you would be an Adult Interdependent Partner (AIP).
Although the contents of a cohabitation agreement vary widely from couple to couple, they typically include provisions for property division in the event of a separation. A cohabitation agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement but without the nuptials.
Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?
If you and your partner want greater control over what will happen to your assets and debts in the event of future separation, creating a cohabitation agreement may be in your best interest.
Doing so is definitely encouraged if any of the scenarios below apply to your unique relationship:
- You own individual property;
- You own joint property;
- You have significant assets, and/or you expect to accumulate significant assets;
- You own a business, whether individually or jointly;
- You have a pension; and
- You have children together.
To qualify as a “common law” couple or as an AIP, at least one of the following situations must apply to you:
- You have lived together for at least three years;
- You have lived together with some level of permanence and share a child; or
- You have entered into an adult interdependent relationship.
Do You Need a Lawyer For a Cohabitation Agreement?
Non-married couples who separate after living together in a marriage-like relationship often find themselves in complex legal disputes. In some cases, these disputes are even messier due to the unconventional circumstances of the union and subsequent split.
A cohabitation agreement is one way to mitigate such disputes and the legal uncertainties that accompany them. But a cohabitation agreement is a complex document, and having the help of a skilled cohabitation agreement lawyer is critical to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected.
Even minor errors or oversights can result in an agreement that is not legally binding.
A cohabitation agreement will be considered legal and enforceable as long as both parties have acknowledged that they are aware of the nature of the agreement and have executed the agreement freely and voluntarily and that the contract follows Alberta law.
An experienced Edmonton family lawyer can ensure that this important document covers all bases, is well-drafted, enforceable, and in your best interest.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you have questions about cohabitation agreements or your rights in a marriage-like relationship, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.
Since 1991, we have assisted countless Alberta individuals and families in every type of family law matter, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining the results our clients desire in a swift, cost-effective manner.
Our highly knowledgeable family law team offers premium legal services at an affordable rate and will be by your side throughout the entire process.