Cohabitation Agreement Ontario Canada

Cohabitation Agreement Ontario Canada: Protecting Your Rights and Assets

Cohabitation is an increasingly common arrangement for couples in Ontario, Canada. Whether for financial reasons, personal preference, or as a step before marriage, many couples choose to live together without tying the knot. While this arrangement can certainly bring many benefits, it also comes with some potential risks and uncertainties. That`s where a cohabitation agreement comes in.

What is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement, also known as a domestic contract or living together agreement, is a legal document that outlines the rights, obligations, and expectations of two people who are living together in a romantic relationship. This agreement can cover a wide range of issues, depending on the couple`s needs and preferences. Some common topics that may be addressed in a cohabitation agreement include:

– Financial support: How will the couple share expenses and income? Will one partner provide financial support to the other, and if so, how much?

– Property rights: What happens to shared assets if the couple separates? How will jointly owned property be divided?

– Estate planning: How will each partner`s assets be distributed in the event of death or incapacity? Will either partner be entitled to make decisions on behalf of the other?

– Child custody and support: If the couple has children, how will custody and child support be arranged in the event of a separation?

Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

While many couples may feel that a cohabitation agreement is unnecessary, there are several good reasons to consider drafting one:

– Protect your financial interests: Without a cohabitation agreement, the default rules of Ontario`s family law will apply. These rules may not reflect your individual situation or preferences, and may lead to an unfair or unexpected outcome. For example, if one partner owns a house before moving in together, the other partner may gain automatic rights to the property in the event of a separation, even if they have not contributed to the mortgage or upkeep.

– Reduce conflict and uncertainty: Disputes over property and finances can be a major source of stress and conflict in any relationship, but they can be even more complicated when the couple is not married. By setting out clear expectations and guidelines in advance, a cohabitation agreement can help to reduce uncertainty and prevent misunderstandings down the line.

– Plan for the future: A cohabitation agreement can also help you plan for the future, whether that means protecting your retirement savings, planning for the care of your children, or ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.

How to Draft a Cohabitation Agreement

If you are considering a cohabitation agreement, it`s important to work with a lawyer who has experience in family law and contract drafting. Your lawyer can help you identify the issues that should be addressed in the agreement, as well as help you negotiate the terms with your partner. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

– Be clear and specific: A good cohabitation agreement should be clear, specific, and unambiguous. Make sure you use precise language to define the terms of the agreement, and avoid vague or open-ended clauses.

– Discuss openly and honestly: Before you begin drafting your agreement, make sure you have an open and honest discussion with your partner about your goals and expectations. This can help you identify potential issues and avoid misunderstandings.

– Get legal advice: While it may be tempting to try to draft a cohabitation agreement on your own, it`s important to get legal advice to ensure that your agreement is enforceable and meets your needs. Your lawyer can also help you make sure that your agreement complies with the requirements of Ontario`s family law.


If you are living with a partner in Ontario, a cohabitation agreement can be an important tool for protecting your rights and assets. By setting out clear expectations and guidelines in advance, you can reduce the risk of conflict and stress down the line, and ensure that your interests are protected. Contact a lawyer today to learn more about how a cohabitation agreement may benefit you.

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