An Overview of a Cohabitation Agreement When Living Together - Pathfinder Law

Man signing a cohabitation contract

An Overview of a Cohabitation Agreement When Living Together

Even though sharing a home with your significant other may be a great milestone, it can also be quite stressful should the time come for you to split ways. Due to all the arguments about your assets, money, and even debt, the legal matters can be confusing not to mention the emotional toll it takes. 

For this reason, some couples choose to sign into a so-called “cohabitation agreement” to prevent any future complications. In case of a separation, you will have a different conversation about how to divide debts and assets. 

Why Do People Sign Cohabitation Agreements?

You and your partner may sign a cohabitation agreement as soon as you begin living together. There are various options depending on what you want to include in your cohabitation agreement. 

Personal property or assets might be divided as you see fit. In this category, you might include your vehicle, refrigerator, furniture, debt, personal property, clothing, and even your salary. 

The primary goal is to ensure that you and your partner are on the same page regarding dividing all these assets.

What’s the Purpose of a Cohabitation Contract?

As a result, many couples opt for a cohabitation contract since most of their assets are joint. It’s an excellent method to ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page and prevent future misunderstandings. 

Even if you don’t get along, a cohabitation agreement may give you a vote on what happens to your shared possessions in the case of a divorce.

Agreements to cohabit are not limited to married couples. Even couples who are engaged or who have been dating for a long time but have never lived together will utilize a cohabitation agreement.

The number of people you may include in a cohabitation agreement is unrestricted by law. You may want to create a cohabitation arrangement even with distant relatives or acquaintances.

Do Cohabitation Agreements Have Legal Effect?

A cohabitation agreement must abide by the legislation of the province it is entered into. Cohabitation agreements are legally enforceable in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, for example. 

As a result, if you and your partner decide to call it quits in the future, you will be held to the terms of your contract. In other words, if you agree that your partner receives the property and the savings account, you must follow through with your agreement.

For Canadian provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and Labrador, a cohabitation agreement isn’t legally enforceable, which means you don’t have to adhere to the terms of it. Even if you split up, no one can compel you to continue following it.

What Are the Steps To Making a Cohabitation Contract?

You may design a cohabitation agreement on your own, or you can engage a lawyer to assist you. A lawyer can prepare a contract tailored to your relationship. 

A way to achieve this is by asking about your debts, assets, and property. You may also include a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in your cohabitation agreement, which you can request from your lawyer. 

If you and your partner choose to marry or divorce in the future, a prenup or postnup will notify you of what will happen to your property and assets.

Another option is to create a cohabitation agreement that never expires. When your contract ends, you may easily renew it if you so want.

You should discuss a cohabitation agreement with your spouse if you are in a long-term relationship or already living together. There are two options: either you and your spouse sign a contract, or you may only do so if your partner refuses to sign and you are planning on moving out.


A cohabitation agreement might be a lifesaver if you’re already sharing a home. If you and your spouse decide to split up, this is an excellent method to know and understand what will happen to your assets and property. As a result, it’s essential to draft a formal cohabitation agreement and have it signed by both parties. 

The agreement sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each person and can help resolve disputes if the relationship ends. If you are considering entering a cohabitation agreement, you should consult an experienced attorney to ensure that the contract meets your needs.

Pathfinder Law can assist you if you need a specialist in family law in Abbotsford. Our legal professionals also specialize in construction, employment, and company law, so we can assist you with practically any issue. Simply visit our website to schedule an appointment!

Disclaimer – The information contained herein is of a general nature. It is not intended to be legal advice and it is not intended to address the exact circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You should not rely on or act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice and without a thorough examination of your particular situation.