What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A Cohabitation Agreement is a domestic contract entered into between unmarried parties which serves to govern the financial arrangements should the relationship ever come to an end. If parties to a Cohabitation Agreement ever marry, then the Cohabitation Agreement is automatically deemed to be a Marriage Contract.
In Ontario, domestic contracts are governed by Part IV of the Family Law Act.
Pursuant to section 55 of the Family Law Act, a Cohabitation Agreement is considered a legally binding contract if it is signed by both parties and in the presence of witnesses who have also signed the agreement. The Agreement must also be dated.
Pursuant to section 56(4) of the Family Law Act, a Cohabitation Agreement (or a portion of it) may be set aside:
(a) if a party failed to disclose to the other significant assets, or significant debts or other liabilities, existing when the domestic contract was made;
(b) if a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the domestic contract; or
(c) otherwise in accordance with the law of contract.
While it is not a requirement that your Cohabitation Agreement be drafted by a lawyer and you can draft your own Agreement, you do so very much at your own risk. A better path would be to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers so that we can draft the Agreement for you.
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