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Posted on February 21st 2006 in Legal Articles

What should you include in a cohabitation agreement?

What should you include in a cohabitation agreement?

While entering into a cohabitation agreement may not seem very romantic, it is practical and it could save a lot of money and grief should a separation occur. A cohabitation agreement is a contract and as such should include certain basic elements, and consideration should be given to a variety of others.

There must be a clear intent that the parties’ purpose is to create a legally enforceable agreement.

The reasons for entering into the agreement should be stated. For instance, the agreement may be strictly for the purpose of dealing with the family home or it may cover a much wider variety of areas.

Consideration is a necessary part of any contract, in this case it is usually the mutual exchange of promises.

An interpretation section should be included to define such things as the parties, the applicable legislation and the property affected by the agreement.

The scope of the agreement should be set out – e.g. will it override certain legislation and subsequent agreements between one of the parties and a third party?

A clause indicating that both parties have sought independent legal advice is also important.

A clause stating that both parties have made a full financial disclosure, including major assets and liabilities should be included.

Some of the questions the parties should be asking themselves and possibly including in the agreement are:

What will be the arrangement for the financial support of the parties during the cohabitation? Any subsequent separation? Death?

Who has ownership of the various assets including the family home, businesses and any pensions?

Will the agreement continue to apply in the event the parties marry?

Please visit our Family Law specialty site at www.familylawtoronto.ca